My youngest sister and brother went to an reverse mainstream preschool. Many people are familiar with the idea of mainstreaming but not reverse mainstream so please, let me enlighten you. Their program was at a public elementary school and it was for preschoolers with severe special needs. Every year they would accept several children from the general school population to be students alongside those with special needs. See how it's reverse?
It was a wonderful experience for my sister and brother. They learned all they needed to about colors and basic math, yet learned the invaluable stuff like patience, tolerance, and understanding that can't be taught from a desk or a book. Eventually my mom ended up volunteering so much that they offered her a job in the classroom and she remained tied to the school long after Maria and Taylor had "graduated".
My mom was a one-on-one aide to a little girl for several years. This little girl was deaf, blind, had holes in her palate so she was fed through a portal in her abdomen, had twisted fingers and toes, and had a skin condition that made her quite fragile to handle. She also had a famous temper! There were many days that my mom felt frustrated, but I remember a few days when she would come home so thrilled that this little girl was signing TABLE, or better yet, signing ROSIE with real understanding.
I would go to the school from time to time to hang with the classroom. The little girl's favorite thing to do was to sit in someone's lap and rock. If you did not rock with her she would get mad! So therefore, you rocked. Walking the halls was another favorite and even though it took forever to get where you were going, it was nice. It was sweet. Sometimes, without apparent reason, she would start chuckling. She understood happiness in her situation and that was always a beautiful and moving experience.
My dad has talked about my family's time at this school in a very reverent manner. He has said that it never seemed to fail him that whenever he was feeling down, feeling as the world and all it's elements were working against him, he would end up at the school. Either to visit my mom or drop something off.
And then he would take little Miss on a walk. Or be the rocking chair. Or sign colors with another student. Whatever it was, very quickly all his worries and burdens would begin to seem quite frivolous and vain. These children laughed without cause so why should he be asking, "why me"?
I love when my dad recounts his experiences and reflects on how blessed we all are. It's so easy to get caught up in the unfairness of life, comparing the haves and the have-nots. I am most certainly guilty of thinking I have been quite put upon by life and I'll not have any more of it, thank you very much, but is my life really so hard? Are my burdens so that I can't find beauty in simplicity and a reason to laugh out loud when all I feel is opposition? Nah. I am so much more abundantly blessed than I can ever articulate.
Have a wonderful weekend