By Jennifer Richardson
He is sitting and silent. Eyes wide open, watching. He doesn’t speak. He doesn’t engage. For some reason, I am drawn to him. I know he is in there…someplace. I want to know him. I want him to know I am there for him. I have made a goal to talk to him at the beginning and the end of every day. Maybe the smile and the hello will let him know I am there. Maybe he will feel more comfortable with me and will engage. Sometimes he will say hello. Sometimes he just stares with those wide eyes.
Today was a tough day. He was asked to move. Many people. Many requests. Too much, too quickly. I looked at his face. I saw the distress. He was overwhelmed. He was VERY overwhelmed. He left the cafeteria and headed to his classroom. I believe he was looking for the place where he could feel safe. He wasn’t supposed to be beyond those red doors but, I knew he needed that. I opened the door and allowed him to go to his classroom. I praised him for taking care of himself. I helped him get his chair and sit at his spot. I put his breakfast tray in front of him. His face relaxed and he began to eat.
When it was time for me to go back to the cafeteria I said I was glad he felt better. I told him to have a good day and I put my hand up for a high five. He reached up and hit my hand.
HE REACHED UP AND HIT MY HAND! I might have even detected a little smile.