At our last faculty meeting, some fellow teachers brought up the fact that April 24th was take your child to work day and asked permission from our principal to take advantage of the day. I was excited at the possibility of bringing Colin in, especially because I talk about Colin all of the time (and Kailey too) in reference to respecting people's differences and why it's important to be careful of word choices. My students love hearing about him and ask about him a lot. While I was a little bit wary of him making it through the entire day, especially because at one point I have three classes in a row, I decided to give it our best shot and take my chances.
I honestly can't say that Colin surprised me because I knew that he would enjoy the attention from the other kids and exploring a new place but I was so pleasantly surprised that we really had an AWESOME day together. He was so great, so well behaved, so social, and gave the students exactly what they wanted....high-fives, hugs, pounds, and hand shakes.
During part of my day I have library duty and our friend Mer hung out with us (who Colin knows very well) and another friend's kids were there. He snuggled right up on the couch while they were watching videos on Mer's phone.
Coincidentally, I was starting my genetics unit today so I took some time to explain to my students the difference between a "normal" karyotype and one for someone with Trisomy 21. They asked a lot of great questions and compared the difference between the two. I should never have worried about keeping him occupied because during my classes that I was "lecturing" and then doing an activity, he literally sat there attentively listening to what I had to say. If I would look at him he would point to me and tell me to keep talking. The kids loved it because then he started making finger puppets on the screen at the end of their notes. They certainly didn't mind the distraction. At the end of each class, he would give everyone a high-five on their way out, which they loved.
I wish I could have taken a picture during one of my class periods of 8th graders because at the beginning of the class, he went right over without me saying anything, and sat at this desk (above) with another girl). I found it interesting because he was still a little shy and wasn't quite ready to do that in any other class. He sat there with her for the whole 45 minute class and worked on using his scissors while she did her work. Every once in awhile he would say something to her and then go back to work. It was hysterical to see this little boy sitting in the middle of a class of 8th graders.
He truly proved that he is an observer today when Mer came to visit us and he made her and I sit at the desks while he drew on the board and kept asking us to tell him what it was (he was drawing circles over and over). He was essentially "teaching" us a lesson which was incredibly cute.
I was so proud of him today for showing just how well behaved he can be, using language appropriately (I had to remind myself to stop jumping in for him to "translate" because a lot of the times he WAS understandable), socializing the right way by shaking hands and giving high-fives, and introducing himself. He paid attention during class, whispered when he wanted to ask me a question, occupied himself when he was getting a little tired and was just really, really good.
It truly was a GREAT experience having Colin there with me today. He was so much fun!