Thursday, May 28, 2015

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

As withdrawn as Ronan is, the children who know us well have gotten to know Ronan pretty well, too.  They understand that he’s developing differently than they are.   They’ve heard about his limitations.  But they can see that while he can’t do some things, he is capable of many other things.

When I’ve had to pop into my typical children's school, more often than not, Ronan is with me.  The students who see us belt out, HI, MRS. JAMESON!!! HI, RONAN!  They hold the door open for us.  They make way for us.  They offer a huge smile, a helping hand, and always a kind word.  

When I’ve had the chance to sit down with some of those students, they ask me about Ronan.  Some topics we've talked about are Ronan's lack of speech and his slow and awkward gait.   With the older students, we've had more intense conversations.  We've talked about Ronan's behavior, his frustrations, and have touched on the vaccine-autism connection.  These children have questions - good questions.  I’m so glad that I can offer them helpful answers.  

Something else that I'm glad about is that I know that some of the kids' parents have talked to them about Ronan, too.  Those may not have been easy conversations to have, but I want to thank the parents being honest in their responses.  The values they've instilled at home have spilled over into the real world.  Happily, I get to see those values in action when Ronan and I are at the school.  

Ronan isn't part of their every-day world, but when he shows up at school with me to drop off a sibling's forgotten lunch, to sit through an awards ceremony, or to enjoy some school events that he never used to tolerate but that we're now able to add to our schedule, the typical kids we see never judge or belittle Ronan; they embrace him.  They show him love.  But more importantly, they show him respect.  

Even though Ronan has physical limitations that can clearly be seen, they choose to see that Ronan is just a kid like they are.  He’s not a statistic.  He’s not a burden.  He’s not weird.  He’s just Ronan. 

Despite the major differences, or maybe because of those differences, the typical children I encounter with Ronan are helpful.  They are kind.  And they are always respectful.  To those children who show Ronan the respect he deserves, thank you.  You are helping make the world a better place. 



xo, Cat


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