I enrolled David in a T-ball class. Our town has recreational opportunities for children with developmental and physical disabilities. This is the first time David has been old enough to participate.
The T-ball class is held on Saturday mornings in the gym at David's school. I thought that is perfect. He would be in a place that he knows so we wouldn't be spending a large chunk of the first class with him taking the time to explore every nook and cranny of the space.
Getting David to participate appropriately and listen to the coach has been a challenge. David prefers to run around the gym at all times instead of hitting the ball from the T or sitting quietly in a circle while the coach gives directions on the next activity.
There are teens who volunteer with the program as aides for the kids. The parents are supposed to retire to the parent area so the kids can participate independently.
During the first class. I retired to the hallway so I could peek into the gym to see what David was up to. His poor aide didn't have a clue what to do with David. So, I went back into the gym and explained to the aide that David had autism and it is difficult for him to attend and have contact with people. So I showed the aide what to do. How to physically make David sit when he should sit and hit the ball when he should hit the ball.
I think that poor child went home with a back ache.
Over the weeks. I noticed that the aides shy away from the door when David arrives. I'm not hurt by that. I totally get it. David has to be re-directed often. He doesn't make eye-contact with the aide. Except when he wants to be chased around the gym. Because of this, I have been working as his aide. Which is fine, I guess.
Yesterday, David did have an aide, after the coach noticed that David didn't have one. We had a nice young man named Dale. Dale has seen David before and he did a really good job being a co-aide. I still hung around to help David play catch with Dale and to keep him David from bolting around the gym at full speed.
Towards the end of the session. The coach had the children sit and then take turns hitting the ball from the T and then running the bases. Dale took David for his turn and helped David run the bases. David then sat between me and Dale until it was time for his next turn at bat. The children had several turns each. The coach then asked who hasn't had a turn in a while. David stood up, walked over to the coach and said, "Me!"
I was floored. The coached asked if David just said, "Me" I told him it sure sounded like it. David took his next turn at bat complete with praise from the coaches and other aides for saying, "Me!"
Later in the day. My husband, David, and I were riding in the car. We passed a park where David and I attended a fair a few weeks before. I parked the car and we had to walk past a pond that had ducks and geese sitting on the grass around the pond. David wanted to walk over to the geese. I let him and David touched one of the geese and gave it a little pet.
As we were passing the park, I told my husband that this was the park where David saw the ducks and petted one.
From the backseat, David corrected me. " Geese"
I told David I was sorry, he was right. They were geese.
Two simple words made my whole day, shoot, my whole month- Geese and Me. For most parents of an almost 5 year old, this doesn't mean anything. For me, it's like hitting the lottery.