Saturday, June 16, 2007


Friday after work I had the pleasure of going to see Jason's preschool graduation. This was actually Jason's second, but much more challenging of the two. The prior day he went through his special ed class graduation - a very small affair as there are only 6 kids in the class. But Jason splits time between that class and the "typical" or "mainstream" class, and Friday was that class' ceremony. Many more kids. And a group of parents generally unaware of special needs students' particular brand of ... unpredictability.

It was a rousing success! They opened the ceremony by filing all the kids single file into the auditorium. Jason was 2 kids from last in line. They then performed the Pledge of Allegiance. Jason spoke along with all the kids - he definitely has this one down pat. The only notable thing was that Jason was the only person in the auditorium not oriented toward the flag in the corner behind him. No big deal.

Then it was singing time. They started with a song about a turtle named Tiny Tim. Jason mouthed along with the crowd (he is not much of a singer by choice) and tried to look interested. That song came to an end and then they segued into a much longer one about rainbows and such. That song required lots of hand and arm movement (making arches and such) and, again, Jason acquitted himself beautifuly. I must mention here that one little girl was .. just .. belting .. out .. the song. It was classic. Huge smile, dramatic movements - she was a little Shirley Temple. Defeinitely a future American Idol contestant - and winner.

Last was the presentation of the certificates of graduation. This was where Jason stood out most noticeably - to us and us alone. One teacher read the names and the other handed out the paper certificates. As each one was given to a child, the child would invariably hold it out for all to see, seek his/her parents in the crowd, and beam at them. Not our boy! He got his diploma, and promptly began reading it. Never mind that he is probably the only kid in the class who is capable of reading it, and could have done it 8 or 10 months ago as easily as now. So, instead of our kid beaming, Lisa and Grandma and I were. It was great. Jason is in the light blue shirt. Jason's little brother Colin had a great time, too, as evidenced by his smile.
Oh, and the teachers shared with us after the ceremony that the only reason they did two songs, and not the traditional one song, was that Jason throughout the year just loved the Tiny Tim song. They did it just for him, in order to make him comfortable. What a difference a caring set of educators makes! Everyone should be so lucky.


Ms. Clark said...

Thank you for sharing that. Those are some great boys. Cute, too!

Anonymous said...

"He got his diploma, and promptly began reading it. Never mind that he is probably the only kid in the class who is capable of reading it, and could have done it 8 or 10 months ago as easily as now."

I just love that little part. I wonder if my Jr. will do the same thing, I suspect he will.

Having the right set of educators makes all the difference in any child's development. We are fortunate to also have some great ones in Jr.'s class. He is in a mainstream class all day but has an aide to help him, which we gladly pay for out of pocket. I wish I had had an aide in class. I believe I wasn't allowed to attend preschool after a few days in the class. I ended up being cared for during the day by a neighbor across the street from our house. She was a rather heavy set woman with a heart to match. I'll never forget her. I thought of her as my 2nd mommy, Mrs. Messer was her name. Her husband had some sort of dementia, he never talked, had really bad glaucoma (which I thought was cool at the time because his eyes looked like the "master" in the kung fu tv program on tv during those years) and chain smoked on the porch all day. I remember his yellow fingers and the big pile of butts in the yard. He was a nice man, but I never remember him doing anything but sitting in that chair smoking. I had a very good childhood, oblivious to the realities of the outside world. I was loved and wanted. Quite a contrast to what happened after I entered school.

In those days, there weren't any special ed classrooms that I remember (I believe those kids were unfortunately excluded from the schools, almost medieval in the way they were treated). I remember resource rooms, but I never attended them. I was usually in the principal's office or being spanked during various times of the day.

I think today's kids probably have some advantages to what we had during that time. Some disadvantages too I'm sure.


laurentius rex said...

How times have changed, we did not even have preschool when I was that age, one went straight to school as a "rising five" and that was it.

kristina said...

Sounds like it was a glorious event----three cheers plus for Jason (an his proud parents).

Steve D said...

Ms. Clark - Thanks! They get that from their mother :)

Anon - Yes, Jr. probably may too, as many ASD kids are hyperlexic. Jason has an aide, too - if the picture extended 3 more feet to Jason's left you would see her. She has been wonderful for Jason.

Larry - I think preschool can be great for kids, mainly because it allows for a kid to adapt to a scedule and some mild structure, without academic expectations. Most kids really enjoy it. It took Jason a while to figure it out, but he sure seemed to like it by the end.

Kristina - Thanks! I hope Charlie is doing well these days too!