A year and a half ago (Spring of 2018), Joe and I sat in Courtney’s placement meeting and shared that we disagreed with their placement for her. They decided to have her spend half her day in a blended setting. I remember sharing with them that Courtney spends a lot of time with her cousins who are similar age and barely acknowledges their presence let alone interact with them. The principal replied, “oh but that will change after next year”.
Here we are, a year and a half later and I sit and watch Alyssa playing with her cousins while Courtney climbs on the piano, dumps cans of pop, chew on a dirty sponge and lick every toy in sight. As much as I had hoped that day the principal was going to be right, her tone and certainly got to me. Maybe because I’m a special educator myself and I know it’s not that easy. I wanted to believe that Courtney would become more social after being part of a blended class.
The girls and I spend every Thursday night at my parent’s house where my sister and her family also live. Alyssa and her two cousins were dancing to some video on tv. Courtney was wondering around and stopped by them. She was fascinated by the music and what was on tv. I know the tv is what is what she was gravitating towards and not her sister and cousins, but I took a moment to enjoy seeing her “with” them. For a moment she looked like she was joining in. For a moment, the four of them were “playing” together.
There was another beautiful moment last night too. Not sure why and the why doesn’t matter, but Courtney was very cuddly with my sister, her godmother. And it wasn’t just a one time thing. All evening she kept seeking my sister out. Courtney can get cuddly with adults if she’s in the right mood and if you are giving her squeezes and tickles. What made my night though was watching how it lit up my sister’s face.
As Alyssa bonds more and more with her cousins, it becomes harder to watch Courtney not have that bond. It becomes harder to see her on her own. It becomes harder to see how disconnected she can be. But I have to remember to take a step back and celebrate the little steps we’ve made.