I tend to forget how not like other kindergarteners mine are. We are so used to how they behave and what their needs are that we just respond to them as necessary, and don't notice their differences from other kids, at least not daily. I don't see them next to groups of typical peers all that much.
(That's got to change, by the way.)
Yesterday those differences were right up in my face.
The boys' class (the typical class) had an end-of-the-year celebration, which I was invited to attend, along with all the other kindergartener's parents. All the other parents seemed to know each other a little bit.
The kindergarten graduates all danced and sang to the parents. Well, the typical ones. AJ sat on my lap, while Miss Sherri (the EA who came along to help) tried to talk Zack into sitting, rather than bouncing here, there, and yonder while muttering to himself. Then their teacher showed a slideshow of pictures of the kids throughout the year. Zack and AJ appeared a couple of times in the slideshow, it was cute. But neither boy wanted to sit and watch. Once the lights were dimmed, AJ got up and the two of them wanted to bounce and hover right up by the screen, pointing at kids in the slideshow and saying "kids!" "look!"
I got AJ to sit back down with me, but Miss Sherri was having a tough time subduing Zack. He was just fascinated by the light from the projector, and oblivious to the fact that everyone else was sitting, watching, and he was in the way. So I passed AJ on over to Miss Sherri and I strong-armed Zack into sitting with me.
To all the other parents in the room yesterday - I'm sorry my boys were so disruptive. They can't help how they behave. Hopefully you understood that. You looked like nice, understanding people, but I didn't get a chance to talk to any of you. I don't know if you knew there were some special needs children in your child's class, but you certainly know, now.
After the slideshow, while all the other kids went through their folders, proudly showing their parents all the reading pages, math sheets, and artwork they'd done throughout the year, Zack and AJ bounced and paced and muttered and babbled while Miss Sherri and I worked to get them to look at books with us. They cooperated some but had a really hard time settling down.
So how do I avoid comparing my kids to the typical ones? I try not to compare, to remember that they are on their own train of development and will go at their own pace, but at the same time I'm trying to keep them close to the typical kids so they can learn from them. I can't stop comparing them if I'm going to consistently keep them in typical classrooms and with typical peers. I'm going to have to find a way to keep them separate in my mind, even if they aren't separated in the classroom.
And just like that, kindergarten is over.
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