Well....the mind and heart won over the old, aching body. I signed on for another month of crisis duty in what's classified as a Severe Classroom. Like I said, I've fallen for these kids. Also, my admiration for these teachers just increases daily!
I got smacked in the side of the head today! LOL! I saw stars, literally! You can't turn your back or take your eyes off the kids for a second! When thwarted, or even just for the heck of it, a blow from the hands or feet can come out of nowhere!
How truly frustrating to be non-verbal in a world of confusing sensory input and expectations! Sometimes it might, I suppose, be a kind of relief to hit your head or kick a wall, door or even another person. You can bang your head or bite yourself and be, in many instances, unable to tell the world what or how you feel. I can understand this on an intellectual basis. It breaks my heart.
I have to wonder what will happen to some of these kids when they get a bit older and the parents are unable to contain them or control them. Will they be moved into institutions or a group home? Will there be people like us to care about them to encourage them or access the person that lives within the behaviors and the disorders?
All I can do is marvel at these dedicated and loving teachers who work through and around the behaviors, the disorders, bring out the gold inside and channel it into learning. Teachers who channel the frustration into accomplishment. I will help them in this effort as long as I can.
Where one child can learn what other kids around his age can learn, although with much more effort and through different means, another might learn more life skills with less emphasis on academics.
It's challenging and, as I've said, rewarding. Two kids are becoming more verbal with a bit of prompting. One is, on good days, able to be in PE with his general education classmates. There have been several days lately where it was pretty much all about the behaviors. It was rough, chaotic and exhausting. We were more-or-less in survival mode. On these days there is no PE with other kids, no eating with our classmates in the cafeteria. On these days there is no walk around the school or time on the playground ( runners ).
But, there are the good days, the rewarding days. There are the days where laughter and cries of accomplishment erase the bad days. Except for the "smack", today was one of those days.
I wake up in the morning, refreshed, subdued back pain, looking forward to another day in the trenches of smiles, new words and new accomplishments. And, on a selfish note, it's a good feeling to know I'm making a difference in the lives of a few people in this particular little corner of the world.
I've led a pretty selfish life, on many levels. I've allowed myself to put "me" front and center waaaaaay too much. I've known for some years now that I make a difference in a couple of little boys' lives. Now I'm casting that net a bit wider to a few more little boys and a couple of fantastic young teachers.
It feels really good!