Every morning I put Benny on his bus at 7:35 AM. I load him on the lift in his stroller, then head up into the bus to give him a kiss goodbye. The driver is always strapping Benny’s special stroller into its space on the bus when I head in, so I take a moment to say hello to the one student that is picked up before Benny (We will call him E.) Since last October(ish), every morning, I have looked at E and said, “Good morning E!! How are you today? Did you have a good weekend/evening/etc.?” Or some variation thereof. E is nonverbal as far as I know and has never acknowledged me speaking to him.
A few weeks ago, E started looking up at me when I would greet him. He gave no expression, just looked in my direction. Today, something beautiful happened. Today, I got up on the bus, and as I was greeting E, I noticed his stuffed frog he always brings on the bus looked a lot like Hopkins from Signing Time. As he was looking at me, I said, “E, I love your frog (I signed “frog” as I said it.) Is that Hopkins from Signing Time?”
E LIT UP! He began kissing his stuffed frog, signed “frog” back to me, and started smiling so bright he lit up the entire bus. I gave Benny his kiss, as was our routine, and waved and said “Bye” to E as I stepped off the bus.
E gave me the biggest smile and waved bye right back.
This was one of the most amazing feelings I have had in a long time. I walked away from the bus with my eyes filled with happy tears.
To break through the barrier of a child with special needs, it takes patience and consistency. I was able to do that for a beautiful little boy today after months and months of trying.
To all the educators and aids out there that take the time and patience to make that kind of progress with my Benny, I saw a glimpse of how much effort you must put in today, and I just want to take a moment and thank you.
And Thank YOU E!! You made my day…week..heck probably my year.
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