Monday, October 29, 2007

The Best Story Ever!

Recently, we achieved a parental milestone of sorts - we went to parent-teacher night. Our oldest son is Jason, and Jason is attending Kindergarten this year in a general education classroom. He has a full-time shadow to help him through the more difficult moments, and everyone seems to agree that Jason is doing very well with this placement. Especially Jason...

***
During the parent-teacher meeting, when we asked how, in a general sense, Jason is doing, Jason's teacher burst into a big smile and told us the following story:

The class was gathered around Ms. D'Nealian, who was holding their attention with some sort of information sharing game. She was engaging the students to say something about themselves, or about her, or about whatever they chose. She elected to start at the beginning of the semi-circle - her left - and work her way around giving each student an opportunity to talk. As the students took their turns to talk, and the speaking job moved closer and closer to Jason, he began to get very fidgety.
{Aside: Jason is almost always fidgety. He shows an extremely inquisitive nature, and asks a LOT of questions during the school day. So many, in fact, that he constantly walks around all day with his right arm upright at the shoulder, bent 90 degrees at the elbow, forearm resting on the top of his head. This way, when he has a question, he can efficiently raise his hand in .0000057 seconds and ideally receive his answer much more quickly.}
As each student in the arc ahead of Jason did their speaking bit, his movements became more pronounced. First his hand would shudder in an effort to hold it back from shooting upwards to question-mode...
Student A would stand up, say "Ummmmmm, Ms. D'Nealian, I have socks that look like your socks" and sit back down. Jason would begin to "jog in place" with anticipation...
Student B would stand up, say "Ms. D'Nealian, my daddy has lots of tools and, and a truck that's fast and stuff" and sit back down. Jason was hopping by this time.
Student C would stand up and say, "Ms. D'Nealian, I saw a frog this weekend. He was green." and sit back down. Jason, whose turn was next, by this time was hopping and jogging in place, both hands straight up in a 'touchdown' signal...
"Jason, what would you like to say?" asked Ms. D.Nealian....

Out from my little boy bursts - the kind of BURST that can only take place after holding back for a while - "I LOVE YOU!!! I LOVE THIS CLASS!!!!" He is now jumping up and down wildly, his enthusiasm infectious! All the little kids leap up from the floor - "I love you too!" "I love this class too!" It was a storm - a perfect storm of unleashed goodwill! It was as if the proverbial crowd stormed the playing field. Love was in the air!

And - amidst the chaos of 5 year-olds and 35-year olds celebrating their very existence in the wonderful classroom known as K5 - Ms. D'Nealian stopped a moment to observe my son. My son Jason - who has his whole life ahead of him and will carry the things he learns in Kindergarten with him every moment of that journey - was standing there amidst leaping kids and grinning teachers/aides/volunteer moms with his hands on his hips, beaming from ear to ear, looking from side to side, being as smug as can be as if to say "I DID IT, damn it! I caused this glee! I am Jason! Join me in celebrating!!!!! I LOVE this class!!!!"
***

If you've ever seen the end of the movie Rudy, you'll know how I felt when she told us that story. Its a moment that will never leave me.

11 comments:

Another Voice said...

Talk about a kleenex moment, I can only imagine the joy you felt.

Jason lit the fuse and a room full of 5 year olds let out a burst of happiness.

Give him and that teacher a hug from me.

Another Autism Mom said...

I'm so happy for you and your son. It is indeed the cutest story I've read on all autism blogs! And boy, is he beautiful...

bullet said...

Oh that is marvellous :D.

isles said...

Awesome!

LIVSPARENTS said...

It's wonderful that he realized that HE was the source, that HE can impact the people around him. Gave the teacher a moment to store in her treasure box too!

Camille said...

That's amazing. I would loved to have seen it. :-D

Thank you for sharing so nicely, Steve D.

Steve D said...

Thanks everybody for your comments! This was one story I couldn't wait to tell.

Niksmom said...

That is one awesome little guy you've got, Steve. Powerful, too! I love it.

VAB said...

That so totally rocks!

aspiedrummerchick said...

That was so cute! I bet I did that when I was little.

I have Asperger's Syndrome.

Anonymous said...

This is great, not only on the part of your son but also on the part of the teacher (and other adults if present). Why? Because it shows they are not trying to force him into the mold of what is expected behavior for a kid of his age. Which I can tell from experience is counterproductive and damaging.