Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Questions & Answers

Sean is five years old and his awareness about Ben's condition is growing. His curious questions, frustration with other people's questions and then his answers to others' questions show that he is experiencing emotional and intellectual turmoil.

Sean had expressed to me that his friends at school asked a lot of questions about Ben, and he was annoyed with the questions. Not in answer to Sean's concern (I did not have the wherewith all to plan this), I took Ben to Sean's classroom for lunch. The children stared at Ben, and Ben did not help the situation because he was overly excited to be there and was making so much noise.  It is a Montessori school so meals are eaten in silence so Ben's sounds were even more pronounced in the very quiet atmosphere.

After I realized the kids did not know what to make of Ben and were perhaps a little scared, I asked the teacher if I could formally introduce him to the class and answer their questions. I was not ready for some of them - Does he have any bones? through me for a quick moment. After the experience, I saw how difficult it was for Sean to both hear the questions and figure out a way to answer them.

On another occasion, Sean asked if Ben will always "be special needs, even when he grows up". Yes, was my response. From Sean, "So he won't be able to drive." No he probably won't. "That's boring." Sean has taken to using the word boring when he really means, "sucks".

Then another day at the park, an adult asked me about Ben's disabilities. Sean was standing right there and jumped right in with "he is a needs child, he has special needs. He cannot walk or talk, but he can hear and see VERY well." Sean went on to describe the Nova Chat and how he uses it to tell us things.

As I reread my writing I already see growth in Sean. Many months ago, he was unwilling to answer questions about his brother, but in the last few weeks, he was able to answer a question and list Ben's abilities as well as his needs. As my good friend Tracy preaches, Trust the Process.

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