I used to stay for the first forty-five minutes or so of class when my oldest son was in first grade. He had a hard time staying in his chair while the teacher dealt with those first few tasks of the day, so I read books with him until I saw an opening to slip out. In those days, Will came home smelling like perfume because everyone from the principal to the lunch lady hugged him, he was that cute. He had only been talking for about a year and a half and his autism was still a mighty obstacle, but each day he was more and more aware of the world around him.
After school one day, his wonderful para-educator (special needs aide) told me about my brave boy. His teacher had lost perspective in a fit of frustration and yelled at one of the students. She was already a yeller, just one of those women who project like hell. Will was sitting across from the kid who was in trouble. "Mrs. V, you leave him alone! Being mean is not okay." The teacher stepped back in shock. Will was red-faced and standing with his arm raised and his finger pointing. With his mission accomplished, Will sat back down in his seat as if he hadn't just shamed a grown up into thinking about her actions. I tell my kids we all have moments of behaving badly and grand moments of acting heroic, and for John, the 4 yr old, I add, "And we all fart too." He falls back on the bed in full belly laughs every time. He's so easy.
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