This is post 100!! I feel like I need to step it up a notch, I am feeling the pressure to write something very prophetic and moving. But all that I can think about right now is about friendship. When Mateo started school in Kindergarten and we decided to take the direction of Main Streaming, even though our school district didn’t necessarily ‘recommend’ it. I remember one of my biggest fears was that he have trouble making friends. Would the children accept him? Would they choose to include him on the playground or would they be forced to by an Aide? Would he have real friends?
The truth is besides my incredible husband and children the one thing that has brought me so much happiness is friendship. The amazing friendships I have created over the years have touched my life in such a positive way. I have always been a very social person and see a lot of myself in Mateo. He has always wanted to be in the center of the action, he has always loved playing with his sister, cousins, our friend’s children. But would these new kids want to play with him?
Mateo has been with the same class for two years and I will tell you in those two years he has made some true friends. Accepting and caring friends that look out for him, they help him with his struggles without an adult telling them to. They include him on the playground without anyone asking. He is included because they enjoy his company and spending time with him. He jumps around and stims on the playground, but no one turns a head, no one stares, no one draws attention to him. He is just himself.
Mateo’s birthday party is this Saturday. I was told on the phone by one of the Mom’s that Mateo is her son’s favorite kid in class and he was so happy to be invited to his birthday party. As my husband dropped off cupcakes kids from all different classes and grades were wishing Mateo a Happy Birthday. He is so loved. Truly loved and accepted for the amazing kid he is. And I am again moved and hopeful for the future of all of our kids with Autism. Maybe Autism Acceptance isn’t as far out of reach as we think.
Next year is a whole new class, a new classroom, a brand new teacher. And again I am worried for him, but maybe I should have more faith in children and the fact that Mateo is just one cool kid.