Thursday, November 4, 2010

To be included...

I first wrote about Max's experience of being included in the classroom a couple of weeks ago.

Since we got that first picture and letter from a classmate, Mrs. C. has been talking to the kids more about Max. And they have had more questions. Last week, she made a video of the students singing their Halloween songs, and all of them singing Happy Birthday to Max. He wants to watch that video multiple times a day!

Yesterday, we got it set up to skype with the classroom, for Max to be a part of reading time. It took a bit of time finding the best place for him to be, so it was bright enough for them to see him. But, we got it set up just as the kids were coming in from recess.

They were all enthralled with the computer screen, but Mrs. C. had to remind them that they needed to look straight ahead, just as Max was. ;) At the end of reading time...the book was about a little boy who helped his family at their farm planting and picking pumpkins, but he wanted to plant watermelons, the kids walked by the computer and one by one said " Hi Max! My name is ..." before heading back to their desks.

Max skyping with classmates
I couldn't get a good shot of him, without it being blurry, so this is the best of the lot yesterday.

Then Max was able to watch them working on their writing. This is where he started getting a little bored, so we said good-bye and hung up. Mrs. C. emailed me that afternoon, and told me how much the kids enjoyed it. And they were upset when I hung up the connection. "Get him back on!", along with lots of questions about him.

"Why does he move so much?"

"Does someone have to talk for him?"

She went over the questions, and the kids just went back to work. She told me one of the kids started moving around like Max, but she put an end to that. I thanked her for making sure their questions were answered, but there will be moments of the kids trying to figure it all out, and that may mean mimicking his movements, or sounds even. If they aren't doing it to be ugly, it's just kids being kids. It's so normal for kids to notice differences, but we can show them they have a lot in common too, and hopefully that will outweigh the differences.

Today, we were set up to skype again, but I had a phone meeting with the Make A Wish volunteer, to talk about Max's wish at the same time we were to have story time, so we left it on through the afternoon, in case there was opportunity for a couple of the kids to read to Max.

We had two girls read him books. I tried to blur their faces a bit, since they aren't my kids, and don't want to be sharing their photos without permission. But, you can get the idea.

This little one had the voice of a mouse...but she was very good about holding the book up VERY close to the camera so Max could see all the pictures.
Max skyping with classmates

And this is his classmate who wrote him a letter, and drew a picture of herself for him. He wrote a story for her yesterday in class. It said "My dog is Olive"...we call it a short story to the extreme!
Max skyping with classmates

We'll sign on again tomorrow for him to listen in on story time again, and we'll be working on ways for him to interact with the kids. Then there is the possibility of swinging by the classroom (with a mask on to protect from germs)when we take him up to the school for photos in a couple of weeks. I think he'll have fun seeing his classroom at school and meeting his classmates in person...and I think they will have fun meeting him too!

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