My young friend at school who has severe anxiety and spends most of his day in the special education classroom gave me a high-five today! It was super quick. Our hands only touched for a second, but I believe it is progress. He still won’t speak to me, but I sometimes get a smile. He continues to allow me to put a music stamp on his hand at the end of class as well.
I know he has rough days at school and often indicates that he’d rather be at home. Yet he seems to be smiling more this year than I remember from the previous year. Last year he wouldn’t come to art, music, or P.E., but now attends all three. Most of the time he simply observes and that is ok. He is there, taking in what’s happening around him, participating in his own way.
His teacher and paras love him so much. They refuse to give up on him, recognizing his capability for so much more. Progress is definitely being made, yet it could be easily missed if not looked for intentionally. I see this progress as he smiles and quietly teases with his teacher. It’s a beautiful thing.
That’s exactly what was happening today after school. I walked over to him and quietly asked for a high five. He smiled but hesitated. I teased a little, “Oh please. Can I have a high five?” Then his teacher chimed in, also teasing, “Don’t you give her a high-five. You better not give her a high-five.” We were laughing, and just as I was about to walk away, I saw his little hand move toward mine. I told him “Thank you” and walked away…grateful.
Grateful to make another connection with this precious child.
Grateful for the connections his teachers are making.
Grateful that the power of love can be witnessed in these baby steps.