A Special Child's Adaptation to a Typical Classroom Setting

Tomeka Laughs in School

You sat in one class after another through the inclusive education programing for children with special needs.

You started to scream and kick the desk.

I walked out of the classroom with you into the hallway.

I was your Special Education Assistant.

You were my one on one student.

Your screams echoed eerily throughout the school.

I wore ear plugs to fend off migraines the high pitched screams triggered in my head.

You kicked my shins bruising them deep greens and blues.

I wore sneakers every day in case I needed to chase after you.

You would give me a sideways smile and laugh as you ran all the way down the hall.

I played music for you in a classroom scattered with a few desks and chairs.

You danced and sang a song only you knew the words too.

You accidentally kicked me in the face giving me a black eye.

I opted out of school picture day.

I pushed you on the swing.

You smiled for an hour straight.

I taught you some basic sign language for eat, drink, more, yes and no.

I gave you choices.

You no longer screamed most of the time.

I stopped wearing ear plugs when I was with you.

I took you outside.

You ran, clapped, laughed and jumped.

You no longer kicked my shins.

You had brain damage, but your heart and soul were intact.

I wanted a picture of the two of us together to have as a lasting memory.

They said, "No!"

I have one anyway that's even better that I carry with me in my heart.

You graduated from 8th grade two years later.

I pictured you laughing and running out of the school singing your song.

Life Lessons

Working with Tomeka gave me a renewed appreciation for the simpler joys in life. Laughing, clapping, dancing, singing, and playing are not only essential but important to my own personal health and well being.

Teaching her to communicate on the most basic level helped me get to know her better. She taught me the importance of making choices or she'd kick and scream. She wanted to be an active participant in decisions in her daily life. Try having someone else make decisions for you every day. I bet you'd become angry and frustrated too.

Can you imagine being hungry or thirsty and not being able to communicate it to anyone? Sign language helped Tomeka make her basic needs known not only to me but to others who took care of her as well.

Open you heart and mind to those who are different. You'll be amazed by how much they can teach you.

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Comments 4 comments

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 5 years ago from Northern California

This is a beautiful Hub and a great look into working in this environment. This reminds me of some of the experiences that my mom had in volunteering in some of my elementary school classes!


Green Art profile image

Green Art 5 years ago Author

glassvisage Thanks so much for your kind words. The work environment had its challenges to say the least. I learned something new every day from the children I worked with. The staff was wonderful too and I know that's not always the case.


wayseeker profile image

wayseeker 5 years ago from Colorado

While the presence of people like Tomeka in our world is more widely recognized and better understood, it is still rare for people to really take the time to appreciate them and the beauty they bring to our world. This is a wonderful tribute to this.

I teach, and, while I only work with students like Tomeka on a limited basis, I am blessed every time. Without the mess of all the complicated concerns that are always running through the minds of everyone else to cover themselves with, their spirits always seem to shine through with more force and power.

Thanks for this reminder, and thank you for the work you have done.

wayseeker


Green Art profile image

Green Art 5 years ago Author

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to this hub wayseeker. Being in the moment with children and adults like Tomeka is such a gift.

It's so great that your a teacher! The world needs caring and knowledgeable teachers like you to guide them in this crazy world we all share. Keep up the GREAT WORK!

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