All Inspired by Special Needs

Hi there! Teacher Sue has been awesomely busy with my first field practicum lately, which explains the silence of this space. :)

Had something inspiring to share though. In the centre where I am now getting experience as an early childhood teacher, I have had the great privilege of working with several children with special needs. And I do not say that sarcastically; to me, it is a very great privilege.  It has been a challenging experience (proof of which lies in the fact that I am now in the process of recovering my voice!), but I’ve loved every bit of it.  It has pushed me to try new strategies, make new discoveries and try to understand these special children better.

Working with a child with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and a few others with autism has been something like a dream come true.  Yes, I know it sounds weird.  But having read up so much about these conditions, nothing beats being able to experience it firsthand and to see that it is true that THERE IS HOPE for every one of these children.  YES, LOTS OF IT.

I shall not ramble on as it is already late while I’m writing (it’s actually tomorrow morning :D).  Just wanted to share one little incident.

It involves the child with ADHD.  The first thing I noticed several about this child was that he had limited eye contact, and was hyperactive, with a short attention span (yeah!).  I also noticed that he did not seem to pay attention to or even hear instructions, and sometimes did not respond when called by name.  It was clear that he did not understand everything that was said as well.  With his situation like this, I wondered how well he could interact socially.  I did not doubt that he was capable of social interaction, but I just wondered how long it would take.

Being with him for half a day every day of the week, I had ample opportunities to interact with him.  He was a huggable child and very cheerful, though truly truly difficult to manage sometimes.  Our relationship grew stronger, and I learned how to communicate with him.  We were able to communicate… his way.

Then one day last week, I had an exchange with him that made my heart leap.

I had to leave the classroom to take care of something, and he wanted to follow me, which was not possible.  So I knelt down infront of him, established eye contact, and said, “T-, can you wait for me?  Teacher Sue needs to go out to do something, but I’ll come back.  Can you wait here?”

He didn’t put up a big fuss.  He let me go and even waved at me through the glass window of the classroom.  When I came back, he was already occupied with something else at the other end of the classroom.  Since he hadn’t seen me yet, I engaged myself with helping some of the other children with their colouring.

Then I suddenly heard a hearty, cheerful shout and felt two strong, chubby arms come around my neck.  There he was, climbing all over me with the sweetest smile I have ever seen, holding eye contact and smiling up into my face.  It spoke volumes to me.

Hope?  Definitely.  Lots of it!

Thank you for reading!  Please feel free to share this with others who would benefit from it!

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