Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Paving The Way

No time for fancy things like editing tonight...busy week. 

Ruby has speech at Maddux's school every Tuesday. Luckily, her start time allows Ruby and I to pop in to the lunchroom to see Maddux for a few moments before her speech session starts. Most of the time it involves us walking to Maddux's table, giving a hug and leaving. However, that takes no less than five minutes because on the way to Maddux's table, about six kids stop and wave or hug Ruby. Then when we get to Maddux's class table, the girls swarm. I mean swarm. Only one or two of them know her from outside of the class, but the rest are basically strangers that just see her on these lunchroom occasions. (I don't know about 50% of these girls.)

I go back and forth in my head about if I should continue to bring Ruby into the lunchroom, as it's a bit of a disruption sometimes. However, this week I vowed to not stop until asked because the impact for everyone is too important. I realized as I watched the girls take turns hugging Ruby this afternoon that with each hug, Ruby became more alike than different in their eyes.

Of these girls, we only know of one who knows about Down syndrome because Maddux 'taught' her in her on World Down Syndrome day last year. Maybe a few of the others have some idea, but none that Maddux could confirm. In fact, at least one of the girls has no idea that Ruby 'has' anything.
So the way I see it, these girls getting to dote on Ruby for 20 seconds each week gives them a connection to her. Hopefully that connection makes them able to connect with someone else who might look or act 'scary' at the playground or at church or in a future classroom. And wouldn't it be cool for the parent of that child to walk into a situation where their child was welcomed and included immediately?

I know that is one of the things I am most anxious about as we enter a new social situation with Ruby (everything from a new class to a random day at the pool): how will the other kids react to her? I am painfully aware that I will become more anxious with time over this issue because kids will grow more aware of differences as they mature, and the developmental differences between Ruby and her peers will continue to grow.

So disrupt the cafeteria, girl. Let your light shine bright.

No comments: