Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tales of the sweetest kid in the world

Ryan was invited to a birthday party for a girl in his inclusion class. This is the very first time one of his typical classmates has invited him to a party; I got a little choked up when I RSVPd. I had never heard Ryan mention this girl, but apparently she talks about Ryan "all the time."

Saturday morning Ryan woke up with a fever and had to miss the party. I made the choice not to be the first to mention it so as not to make him needlessly upset. He spent the morning zonked out on the couch, showing no interest in much of anything.

Shortly after I left for the evening to help out with my roller derby league's game, I got a string of texts from Stu: Ryan had realized what he had missed and was understandably distraught. "Can we go to Teresa's birthday party now?" he begged . "Can it start now?"

I imagined he was upset about having missed out on ice skating and cake and balloons, but Stu says Ryan's only concern was the logistics of how and when he could give the birthday girl her present.

He hasn't asked for cake.

He hasn't asked to go ice skating.

He has asked to give Teresa her birthday present.

This child is beyond sweet.

7/2/14: Ryan dragged himself into school while still not quite well, just to give Teresa her present, and was promptly sent home by the school nurse. It was that important to him. It has been three full months, and he has not received the courtesy of a thank-you note. He doesn't know this is rude, but I do. Just sayin'...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Who is this Ryan person?

One of Ryan's less-attractive qualities is that he is easily frustrated. Before he even has his arms in the sleeves of his jacket he's likely to be wailing "I can not zip my coat up!" He will freak out that "I can not find my ___" when the toy in question is right next to him because it doesn't occur to him to turn his head and, oh, LOOK for the damn thing. As I've said before, throwing up his hands in defeat tends to be the rule.

His teacher and therapists and I have all put this at the top of our list of things we're working on with him.

So I have to admit I spit out my coffee when I read the following letter from his art teacher:
It is with great pleasure that I will be giving your child an award next week. Each month, we focus on a different character trait, encouraging our students to think about, practice, and develop.

The trait for March was "Perseverance."

As the Art Teacher, I watch for this quality all the time. Being an Artist means taking risks, sticking through a problem until it's solved, and sometimes starting over again and again. It's hard work. Your child is willing to work hard and stick with a challenge.

Ryan is someone who I feel exemplifies this trait consistently and is a role model for other students.
And then I called my mother, and she fell off her chair laughing about it. And then I told Stu, who stared at me as though I were speaking Japanese.

I have not met this persistent art student, patiently working through problems, but I would love to. I hope he makes an appearance sometime outside of art class.