Friday, July 14, 2017

Give the Kid a Moment

I was rolling towards the accessible toilet when a large group of children poured out of the gym. One of the kids was with a staff who, when seeing me indicated for me to pull over so they could pass. I clearly couldn't because I would have to pull into a steady stream of children, there was no room. I saw that the boy had an intellectual disability and that he was having trouble with the noise, the transition and the approach of the young staff who was really frustrated.

Frustration never helps.

Children with disabilities aren't being disabled to annoy you. They have a disability that requires you to surrender some of the emotions that, mixed together, create frustration. He was stuck. He didn't appear to need me to move anyway, that seemed to be the need of the staff ... get out of the way so we can get moving. He just looked at me, looked at the other kids and began to process. It will take him time to process. If I move he will have to start all over again.

I waited, patiently and quietly, a slight smile on my fact to communicate that there was no pressure. As the stream of kids began to dwindle, he stepped over, exaggeratedly, and then walked by me with the staff now in tow.

He needed time.

Disability sometimes requires extra time.

He didn't need  people constantly changing the problem.

I went about my business and he went about his.

Disability is our experience, it's one that needs your support, not your emotional reaction to using time, that you are paid for, to allow problem solving and decision making. Both of which the boy did.

Helping meant waiting. For her and me. And wow, that's hard for some people to do.

2 comments:

Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt said...

The only thing I can think of is that, possibly, it was on the staff person's list of Must Dos to get the boy somewhere by some particular time.

That's the kind of details that have to be worked on - if the boy needs more time, sometimes, it is the staff's job to NOT jump in and fix it, which she couldn't, but to bring this up in the appropriate place.

Schools can be inflexible.

Cait Hawthorne said...

I agree with Alicia. Sometimes my son needs more time- but we need to get to a bus that leaves in 10 minutes to go to an appointment. Unfortunately, sometimes that means getting through what needs to be done, and discussing it after.