Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Being Grateful for Her Friends.

"Goodbye Sadie, I love you!" yelled Albert as I was walking away with her to go home Monday afternoon from school.  I looked back in awe, to see Albert smiling toward us and waving so sweetly and genuinely.  It's unconditional, innocent and the true sign of emotion and friendship between two children with disabilities.

This is Sadie's third year in the same intellectual disability self-contained classroom, which she has shared with several of the same students all three years.  Albert is one of several students who genuinely cares and looks out for Sadie.

Back in October, I attended a farm field trip with the class and saw the friendship between Sadie and her classmates.  Another student also calls after Sadie throughout the trip and smiles and wheels himself up next to her legs to reach out for her like children do with each other.  I feel that tingling surge of emotion to know that she DOES have children that really care about her.

Children's Museum
Last week, I attended another field trip to the Children's Museum and the same children called after her and reached out to touch her and interact and to just simply be her friend.  Even another child with a disability from another class walked up and leaned over and kissed her on the cheek, I dare say this might have been her first kiss, but I'm certain these kids love her and show her affection often.  Toward the end of the trip Sadie accidentally got bumped in the head, and one of her classmates asked over and over, "Is Sadie going to be alright," as she watched with genuine concern while Sadie was crying.

All of these emotions and special moments together really got me thinking about how close children are with each other while they are in a special education class.   They spend all day with each other year after year and form close attachments and bonds with each other.  They are friends. Is it no wonder that when they transition to Middle school that many struggle leaving their elementary school, teachers, and friends behind.

We are busy being parents, teachers, and adults, do we realized these children's lives are completely changing... they lose friends, navigate new buildings, new environments, new teachers and assistant teachers.  Change is hard for those of us who are "typically developing," is it any wonder children with disabilities might struggle with the change of losing a friend, and place they called home away from home for 5+ years.

Sadie won't go to middle school for at least three more years and I'm so grateful for the children she is surrounded with in her class today.  It's the most thankful feeling to know your child has friends.