Our Amazing Children at Blouvlei LSEN school
Our special children have their own drum beat and it is our responsibility to decode it...
There is one school where I have some of my most intense spiritual experiences. The school, Blouvlei LSEN school, always advertises my humanity, my frailty, without them even knowing.
Today I am taken by Maureen to see the SNAP class where learners with disabilities of various kinds receive individual educare. I am introduced to two young learners.
The first child is having a showdown with his facilitator/teacher and assistant. He is autistic and he knows how to dictate the terms. Today, says the trainer, is the start of their 'push back' strategy. Adam - not his real name - has to learn to cooperate with them. I meet Adam's mom too. She patiently listens to the new strategy and she is in agreement. Adam is moving about in the room and dismisses us. The teacher assistant is so in tune with Adam's rhythms: she follows him quietly and just removes the obstacles in his path without disturbing his movement. The trainer shows me Adam's learning programme, with heavy emphasis on language activities. This is his area of need, I am told. I am in awe of the patience, the peace and the acceptance of Adam's circle of helpers.
Then we move to the next room to meet Daniel - also not his real name. Daniel is also autistic and as the trainer explains, 'non-verbal'. The minute we enter the room, Daniel leaves his seat, jumps on the massive bouncing ball, starts flaying his arms and darts to the other side of the room to clamber on to a low cupboard. He is excited, says his teacher, a community mom who has been trained to offer this type of specialised education. Daniel is asked to show me how he can spell his name. He deliberately chooses the letter 'S'.
'Aaaah, he is teasing,' says Daniel's teacher. "He knows you are a visitor and he wants to show off his skills. I love Daniel's antics and the more I smile, the more he wants to display his prowess on the various items in the room. Eventually Daniel shows me by means of letters, the start of his name. Oh, what joy... I am so thrilled to be embraced by this young boy. When we say goodbye, Daniel wants a high five and I give him two.
The rainbow class
We move to the class where the class for the youngest learners is. Here I meet the twins who show off their new clothes, two Down Syndrome angels and another with an uncontrollable dribble. They are eating oranges and they tell me how much they have eaten. And of course, I need to hear about their outing planned for the next day. They are going to see the fallen leaves, they say. Loud goodbyes send us off to the office.
Lesson from the angels
I am deeply humbled by the lessons I learn from my child mentors. They don't know how to discriminate, they love unconditionally and they can participate fully if we allow them to. They don't need to dance to our tune. We should tune into their rhythms, their drum beat if we wish to maximise our mutual blessings.
I simply love to engage these special angels sent especially I think, to keep us grounded....