Thursday, September 22, 2016

Class talk

Two weeks ago I went to talk to Bella's class about her hand on her request. That's kind of how we've worked it every year. She tells me IF she wants me to come talk and then I reach out to her teacher when she says something. It turns out that the teacher had a super cool activity planned so she thought my talk would fit right in, turns out, I also don't teach on Fridays so it was perfect timing. It also happened that I received a text from a classmate's mom saying "ask Bella about Billy" *name changed to protect privacy*... so basically all the stars aligned for it to be perfect timing.

This year we talked about some of the same things: She was born that way, I found out when I was pregnant, she can do everything you can, she does some things that you do but just differently. She has to TRY things even if she thinks she can't. Their class has a saying "No I can't, only I'll try". This fit in well with my chat. I explained that sometimes she may do things different and get the same result. One example that we used was tying her shoes or cutting with scissors.

This year, I changed a few things. I added in words that make us feel good, that lift us up and make us feel happy. Those words could be friendly, kind, warm, happy, caring... I also added in words that make us feel sad or are hurtful. Those words could be creepy, weird or stupid. I explained that it's much nicer if we could try to lift up our friends and make them feel good. That kindness comes full circle, if you are kind, then others want to be kind to you. I asked them to come up with words people used to describe them that make them feel good. I heard words like helpful, funny, happy, athletic, crafty... They were THRILLED to share those words that made them feel special.

We talked about how some differences we can see, like a missing hand. We also talked about differences we can't see like diabetes. We talked about celebrating each of our differences and what makes us each special. We also talked about how each of us has physical differences that we can see, such as hair color, eye color, freckles, moles... and maybe we had differences on the inside that no one could see or knew about. One child even felt comfortable sharing that she was diabetic and had to get her blood sugar checked.

This was the FIRST time I took notes with me to talk about Bella's limb difference. It's EASY to get off track with a bunch of squirrely second graders at the end of a busy school day. I'm happy with the results. I'm also happy to report that Billy has been much nicer since our chat!

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