Thursday, April 9, 2009

Teacher's Shower

My oldest son who is in 10th grade (but almost 18!!!) has a disability called PDD-NOS (which stands for a mouthful - Pervasive Developmental Delay - Not Otherwise Specified).  He is in a "contained" room most of the school day but leaves for about three periods of the day.  

His teacher is pregnant with her first baby, so I decided she needed a shower - not for the other teachers, but for the kids to be involved) and when the aide told me no one else was doing one, I told her I would do it.  I never dreamed that I would be doing it all by myself.  But, this is not a wah-wah post of how hard it was (although it was hard), this post is to just say that I feel very lucky.  

My child, although delayed and different than all other "typical" kids, is very sweet, good-natured, and well-liked.  His teachers love him and think he is the "bees-knees".  Even strangers find him charming and most adult females all say the same thing, "He's a doll!"  Part of his legacy is very strange to me as he is so different from the typical kid and isn't all that social at home.  He IS social at school and his Speech Path. says he is a "social butterfly".  

From the time of toddlerhood, when we would go out into public (grocery stores, pools, etc.), he was the first of my four to make a friend.  He would always have someone to play with.  However odd he was, others were drawn to him.  He IS very sweet and "non-threatening" and kids are happy for him to be in their lives.  Usually the kids were younger than him and often typical, although he has those who aren't too.  

So this is not so much of a contrast with most of his classmates, but for the ones on the autism spectrum, he is VERY social, loves people, and gets along quite well.  Which makes me think that he is not all that autistic (I guess I knew this all along, but this reinforces that whole knowledge).  He is still very odd and somewhat ritualistic even about the way he moves, walks and talks, but he is much more flexible than most with autism.  

His classmates on the other hand, scream when someone touches them and nonverbal or only slightly verbal.  I also can't help noticing the kids with Down's who are very social (like #1), but with other issues.  I am blessed for him to be as "easy" to parent as he is.  I say "easy" because no kid is particularly easy, but he is not always going around with a chip on his shoulder, always feeling left out (although he is a lot), always angry, never getting along with anyone, and on and on.....

And for the shower, it was FUN!  It was fun to see the teacher's surprise when she saw her mother and two aunts there.  It was fun to be able to give so many a great, enjoyable time.  It was fun to see #1 in his element, joking and laughing with his friends.  It was fun to be a part of his school experience.  And, it was fun to do something for the teacher who does so much for so many.  Teaching, I know is MUCH more than a is a calling...and I was happy to give to her in this way.

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