Friday, April 16, 2010

All in a Day's Work

One of the surprising joys of my time as an intern at the middle school has been working with the low-level special needs kids.  I definitely couldn't do it all day, but a couple hours a week is really fun.  One of the best things about them is that they're completely spontaneous, so you never know what they'll do or say.  

One of the boys, "John," is 14 and has Down syndrome.  He's pretty low functioning and is mostly non-verbal, but he's a real ham and fun to work with.  Yesterday, as I was getting the group of kids situated and setting up for the activity, out of the corner of my eye I saw John leaning across the table with his pointer finger extended.  Imagine my surprise when he touched my chest and yelled, "Boob!"

Not knowing exactly what to do, I quickly pulled back, said, "We don't touch those," and asked him to sit down.  Since chastisement usually reinforces rather than discourages, we just moved on with the activity.  

We're always trying to encourage him to talk--to say anything; maybe I should be proud?


  1. i know the joy you feel - sometimes these children are the ones who teach us the most, aren't they?
    a few years back i had a horse that was known to be a little "crazy" at a horse show. i turned my back for one minute as a handicapped boy in a wheelchair and his caregiver came up to my horse. when i turned around, i had to stop from shouting for them to get away - this horse had busted my lip numerous times by hitting me in the face with his head.
    he put his head directly in that boys lap and closed his eyes. i don't think i moved for about 30 seconds. the little boy giggled and laughed and smacked that horse in the face while "petting" him. after about a minute, my horse raised his head, breathed in the smell of the little boy's hair, and moved away. i had to go and cry for about ten minutes.

    great post and an excellent blog!
    katie @

  2. What a fun job. I wanted to go into Special Education for a long time. I probably wouldn't have the patience for it though. I have to admit I giggled at this post. Miss Liv- as we like to call her- comes up to me all the time and says "Mom? you got boobies?" I generally ignore it but several times when nursing Isaac I have had to tell her the exact same thing you told "John". Kids. You gotta love them!