Friday, July 27, 2012
A Trip to the Park
Recently I took a friend's children to the park. The two older children had a great time. The youngest has some sensory issues and so a change in routine is difficult. At first he was fighting me and trying to bolt into the street. Next he through himself down on the ground and became limp -- closing his eyes and looking as though he had passed out.
All of the other parents at the park turned to watch. I could imagine the collective question, "What is wrong with that kid?"
This was a great moment for me to experience as a teacher. Parents of children with special needs have these moments in public often. Their child isn't responding to the park, the zoo, or the grocery store the way other children are. It may feel like a moment of judgment.
This group of parents were not judging my friend's child or my skills as a caregiver. They showed caring concern and took my cues for what was needed. He settled in after about a half hour of lying on the wood chips. When he was done playing, he bolted again across the field.
When I sit in IEP meetings this year, I need to have empathy for my students' parents. I'm glad I was able to stick my toe in my friend's sandals for an hour or two.