Friday, March 12, 2010

Circle of friends

It was incredible.

I met with Bud's class today at lunchtime. I was expecting it to go well. I was actually expecting it to be great. But, I'm telling you: IT. WAS. INCREDIBLE.

I can't even begin to describe how affirming it is to face a circle of children who have opted to stay at their desks for lunch and recess because they want to learn more about your child. This was a completely optional conversation for them, yet almost every child stayed. There were a few boys who chose to hold on to their recess time (and I have a hunch they are boys who NEED their recess time to make it through the rest of the school day), but even there - when they returned to class after recess and found there were still about ten minutes to go, they joined right in, asked questions, and seemed as interested as those who had been there all along.

And those who had been there all along? They were AMAZING. I'd prepared myself for some snickering. I'd prepared myself for some walls of coolness and some discomfort with difference. But the classroom today was completely void of attitude. There was plenty of laughter, but it was the laughter of recognition and understanding. There was plenty of laughing with, without a hint of laughing at.

I'd planned a presentation and I'd hoped for some conversation, but I had no idea how eager these children would be to interact. They were fully engaged, their hands flying in the air, their eyes shining, hoping for the opportunity to let me know how well they knew Bud, what they had seen, what they had wondered, what they already knew and understood. And as they spoke, I realized: they get him. They may not have known why he is the way he is, but they understand and they respect that he is the way he is.

Have I said it enough? I love these children.

I want to post more about the presentation itself, so that you can experience it as I did. I can't imagine trying to fit it all into a single post, because there is just too much to say, so I think I'll take it post-by-post, day-by-day. I structured the presentation around the questions the children had written, so over the next week or so, I will post a different question each day. And as you read, you'll have to imagine a room full of ten-year-olds, their heads bobbing, their hands raising, and their understanding growing.


On deck for tomorrow: Question #1 - What is autism?

10 comments:

*m* said...

Fabulous. Can't wait to read the details.

KathieC said...

Yeay! I can't wait for details. Congratulations to you and Bud.

Kim said...

I'm so excited for you and for Bud. I can't wait to read about this experience!

Niksmom said...

Kvelling. Simply kvelling! Can't wait for the details.

kristenspina said...

Looking forward to hearing more about it. Kids are amazing, aren't they?

jess said...

Choking up. When inclusion is done right - truly right - it's an incredible gift. (to everyone). Can't wait to read the details.

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

I will be tuned to your blog, waiting breathlessly for each of these posts.

Those kids will never forget you or Bud. They may forget the date of Friday, March 12, 2010 but they will remember that day. And the fact that they will is all the better - so much for the better - for all of us.

Island Mom said...

I can't wait for the full story -- will be checking back every night to read.

Binxcat1 said...

One of my catch phrases at the moment seems to be... "If i can't get our own family to understand {my now 18 year old, high functioning autistic son} then what hope do I have of getting others to understand?" Just simply... THANK YOU... it seems I might in fact have MORE of a chance than I had first imagined... wish I knew you 16 years ago... you know MY son better than most... thank you for putting it into words better than I have ever managed to do! ;)

Amy said...

I just found your blog and I know these posts are over a year old but all of the questions you answered from Bud's class are great!! I am a special education teacher and would love to send my high school gen edu peers to your blog to read your responses!! This is a great blog!! Wish I would have found it sooner :)