Am I having fun?

The teacher was asked by one of her readers how she could write so many articles. The answer she gave was: “It isn’t all that hard.”

The fact was more often than not, the children surprised her. Sometimes she thought she had seen most everything. Yet, as soon as that thought crossed her mind, something new happened. That was just the case with Billy.

Billy was a very capable young man. He had matured during the years from a very quiet boy in first grade who had difficulty conversing on any topic. Who, what and where questions always ended up with the response of “I don’t know.”

“What did you do this weekend, Billy?” “I don’t know.” “What did you eat for lunch, Billy? “I don’t know.” “What do you want to do now, Billy?” “I don’t know?”

It drove the teacher crazy but she knew that the boy couldn’t process the information quickly enough. That is why choices had to be given. Rather than create open ended questions, she gave the boy choices. She knew what he brought to lunch each day.

So the teacher would give him choices such as: “Did you eat a sandwich or a chicken at lunch?” “A sandwich,” answered the boy.

As time moved forward, the boy gradually was able to generate his own answers to simple questions. His interpersonal skills were growing as he got older. Plus, his participation in the Floortime Play Model was making a huge difference on his ability to play and communicate with his peers.

Billy had a best friend and both were benefitting significantly from that friendship.

By the time the end of the year rolled around, Billy and his best friend Rory were very excited about field day. He was looking forward to what he thought the day would be about. Billy had gone to other field days but this year was special. He was excited about spending the day with Billy.

As the class went outside, anticipation was high. The children were all dressed with clothing and shoes that could get wet. Billy and Rory laughed when the water was being squirted at the students. But it was far more water than Billy had expected. He wasn’t just getting wet. He was getting soaked. His face turned from a big smile to a huge frown.

Billy didn’t do well with surprises. His expectations were not being met and he wasn’t sure what to do.

The teacher knew that he would be alright after the initial shock. She had a feeling that he would be just fine once all the activities began. Getting wet kept the children cooler especially in the hot Texas sun. Then, Billy came over to the teacher to ask a question. “Teacher?” “Yes, Billy.” “I am having fun right?” “Yes,” answered the teacher. “You are having fun.” “Okay,” responded Billy.

At first his face looked uncertain. Then a big smile broke out when the teacher yelled to the Billy and Rory. “Go get some water squirters boys.” They ran to the big buckets of water and began to spray water on each other and on the class, too. Eventually, the boys began squirting other children that they knew from their PE class, too. Yes, Billy was definitely having fun.

Pamela Gross Downing, a special education teacher can be reached at downpamg@aol.com.