Early mornings mark the meaningful conversations in our household. I pour milk into paper bowls of dry cereal, toast frozen waffles, make lunches and most importantly, engage in the discussions that later touch my heart. Amongst fighting and chasing and me yelling about teeth brushing, I am asked to give explanations that are far more than the mundane of which I am knee deep.
My second oldest son circled the kitchen table, looking for the syrup someone else had hidden and pondered the education of his youngest sibling Amos. Amos with his tow head and glasses is now three and with his special needs, he is the most recent school goer in our household. Russell posed questions regarding Amos’ class this year, his class next year and queried if he would be going to kindergarten, at least, if he was potty trained. He wondered aloud if this was a rule for entry. I wondered too.
Kindergarten seems so far away or perhaps, I try to convince my mind not to go that far down the road. At the same time, I think the members of our IEP team would tell you that inclusion is a tremendous goal for me as it relates to Amos. I don’t know how it will work and when I hear the logistics like potty training or Russell wondering about Amos writing his name, I feel a tug of skepticism too.
I mentioned the two classrooms of children with special needs at his school as I tried to answer his kindergarten question. I was also trying to convince myself that sometimes it may be the only viable and best option. He innocently said he didn’t know anything about those classrooms as he noted, “I’ve never been there.”
No, I guess he hasn’t. That’s the whole point of inclusion, isn’t it? Amos is in a self-contained classroom of seven children this year and has three incredible teachers. Though the classroom is not inclusive, it could not be a better fit. He needs the direct instruction and the ratios that offer him a chance at real progress. There is no doubt in my mind that it is best for him, yet like Russell, I question what about later? I don’t want the boy that lives at the center of my heart to be the child that is “there.” Instead, l like to think we can encourage our children and ourselves to cross the threshold more often so as to narrow the divide from here to there.