Taken from TheMighty.com
You ask me, “Does your eldest child have autism?”
“Yes,” I reply.
“I’m so sorry.”
My stomach lurches. No. Don’t say you are sorry. I know you mean well. But don’t apologize for the gift that is my boy — for any part of him.
I used to think a child having a disability was a tragedy. I thought that the parents of such children must long for them to be “whole.” But your idea of “wholeness” is skewed by what you are, by what you know. Birds cannot breathe underwater. Fish cannot fly in the sky. We do not spend our time lamenting the lack of ability in either. Nor do we assume that the fishes long to fly, or that birds feel incomplete, soaring through the air.
Fish writhe on the shore not because they are fish — but for the absence of water.
I know you want to express something. You are compelled to respond, to show you care. I know it is a subject that can make those without experience awkward and uncomfortable. You fear to offend and an apology is simple, closed. I am not offended but please — let me explain.
My boy cannot run, jump and climb like some other boys. He cannot dress himself or drink from a cup. Simple tasks we take for granted require a great effort.
But he can list the wonders of the solar system, in perfect order. Planets and moons and stars roll off his tongue. They must all be perfect. Io and Ganymede and Calisto and Europa. His perception of them is governed by rules that are as absolute as the rules of the universe that make them spin. His rules must be flawless, predictable — like gravity. And they are just as beautiful, in their perfection.
Communication can be a challenge for my boy. He has vocabulary — but the mysteries of interaction and communication must be learned. They will never come naturally. Sometimes he cannot tell me what he needs, and his frustration and despair tumble out of control.
But he loves music. He relates to the sounds of instruments more than lyrics and voices. He mimics the drums and the bass guitar and will tell me which instrument is which, his whole body tense with joy as he imitates them. Listening, singing, dancing — they are not enough. I believe he longs to be the music.
My boy cannot cope with disorder. The pressures of unpredictability take an awful toll. When there are changes, he shows anger, terror, or blankness. I do not know which is hardest to watch. I do know that it is my privilege to hold him, to protect him, to wait — until he feels better.
He is acutely honest. He is sensitive. He is loving. When I ask him how much I love him, the answer is always, “Do you love me as much as the whole world, Mummy?” and I must always reply, “Even more than that, gorgeous boy.”
He adores word games and strange vocabulary and the absurd. Deliberately muddling words can make him laugh until he shakes. He loves to make his baby sister giggle.
I have known no purer joy than watching the delight, mirrored in their faces.
He is perfect.
So, if you must feel sorry, feel sorry for those who do not see what I see. Feel sorry that the world is set up for fish, when he is bird. Feel sorry for those who might shun him, or fail to understand him, or even mock him — for strengths and weaknesses that seem so different to their own. It is their loss, their tragedy. For their perception that he is less, that he needs an apology, is based on standards that are not real. They are an illusion that seems real because the rest of us make it so by our actions, our attitudes.
You do not know what to say. And so you say sorry. You say, I don’t know how you do it. You say, you must be so strong. But my child is not a burden. He is the light of my life. And he would be yours too, if he were your child. Strength flows like water, for those we love. Yours. Mine. My spirit and resilience are no greater than yours.
So if you feel an apology about to escape your lips, stay silent. Or ask, instead, what is he like? What does he love? What makes him smile? What makes him laugh until he shakes?
Because I cannot, and will not, be sorry for any inch of him.
What We’re Learning
We just finished up our getting to know you and on the farm units. We learned the names of different farm animals and practiced signing the names for the animals. We have also been practicing recognizing our written names and remembering the first letter of our names.
We are now entering our We Love Food unit where we will be introducing new food vocab words and food categories! With fall now among us, we will be talking about the changing season and different colors we see outside.
Notes and Reminders
Have you seen our Website?
Our website provides an overview of the Developmental Preschool and our Speech and Language Development Program. There is a lot of valuable information including many local and regional resources for parents of children with special needs. We invite you to browse through it and let us know if you have any questions.
Purple Weekly Folders
Purple weekly folders will go home most Wednesdays
or Thursdays with information, newsletters and
school papers. Please take a moment to read
through the information, leave comments on the
provided sheet if needed, and send the folders
back the following school day. Thank you!
With our changing weather, there is always
the ever-increasing risk of getting sick— especially with little ones. Many families are getting flu shots for their children, and if that is something you are interested in, now’s the
time to do it! We appreciate phone calls regarding your child’s illness and absence from preschool.
Illness Policy: Child must be fever free for > 24 hours before returning to preschool. Child must stay home for 24 hours if they have >2 bouts of diarrhea in one preschool day.
There is NO SCHOOL on October 6 & 7th due to teacher professional development days. Also, there will be NO SCHOOL on Oct. 31st and Nov. 1 for teacher conference/workdays.
If interested, Scholastic Book Orders are due Friday, October 14th
Monthly Teacher Tip
For the picky eater…
Many preschoolers are hesitant to try new foods. Here are some tips to help your preschooler try new foods!
Offer new foods many times. It may take up to a dozen tries for a child to accept a new food.
Be a good role model by trying new foods yourself. Describe its taste, texture, and smell.
Offer new foods first, at the beginning of a meal, when your child is the hungriest.
Offer only one new food at a time. Serve something that you know your child likes along with the new food. www.choosemyplate.gov
Three moms in the U.K. — deaf journalist Melissa Mostyn, who has a daughter who uses a wheelchair; journalist Rebecca Atkinson, who is deaf and visually impaired; and former play consultant Karen Newell, who has a son who is blind — wanted toy companies to make dolls more inclusive of children with disabilities.
Click the button to go to the full article!
The Developmental Preschool now has its own Pinterest page. Check it out for ideas for teaching your little one at home, as well as disability-specific information.
Moscow School District invites you to
JOIN US FOR FREE LUNCH IN THE PARK
FREE for ALL children between the ages of 1 to 18
Dates: June 10 through August 14, 2015
Monday through Friday
Time: 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
(Syringa 11:45 to 12:15)
At 3 beautiful community locations:
Ghormley Park 510 Home St
Lena Whitmore Park 125 South Cleveland St
Syringa Mobile Home Park 4600 Robinson Park Road
There is no cost for children’s meals. Adults may purchase a lunch for $3.75.
If you would like to volunteer, or have questions please contact:
Mimi Pengilly at (208)892-1123
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Are you or someone you know Deaf or hard of hearing? If so, you could qualify for free video relay services for phone calls and communication through Sorenson Video Relay Services. This service allows ASL speakers to communicate with others both hearing and Deaf/HoH. Check out the website, and spread the word to those you know who might benefit from it.
Here in the Developmental Preschool we use Love & Logic as a basis for promoting positive behaviors in the classroom. Check out this document that outlines what this actually is. As parents you can implement these simple steps that help children become more responsible for their behaviors. We encourage you to check out the website link below as well to find free parenting advice and tips. Enjoy!
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Please take some time to check out this amazing site filled with stories by parents and individuals with special needs.