Tonight is Open House at Bridget’s school. There have been other open houses, but like field trips I have always avoided them. It never made sense, really, to go. After all Bridget spent most of her time in the special education classroom. I had such open communication that I did not feel the need to attend open house. My feeling was that Bridget was the class pet. She came in for a few moments, like a puppy, gave hugs and went back to the special education room when “learning” was happening within the classroom.
It made somewhat sense, at the time. Bridget needed the directed lessons. Bridget cannot write her name, add or recite the alphabet. She is probably a distraction and as she is not learning in the traditional classroom the argument could be made that she be in the special education room. It worked, Bridget’s language exploded and she learned to read sight words.
Hard to argue with success.
Yet the feeling of Bridget being the class pet never left me. It was reinforced at the end of last year when her traditional classroom teacher told me the children loved when Bridget visited and gave hugs to everyone when she left. My fears were solidified when we went to a birthday party and no one interacted with Bridget. She was just there.
This year, although only a week old, has been different. Bridget has been spending the majority of the day with in the traditional classroom. She is coming home exhausted. I have no idea what she is doing all day. I get reports of “learning classroom routines”. I ask Bridget, she is so tired she cannot even respond. I’m not sure if it due to this first grade teacher understanding what inclusion is, or her special education teacher advocating for Bridget to be included.
It’s kind of awesome.
It’s kind of scary.
For the first time since Bridget has been enrolled in the public school system, I am headed to open house. I will be bringing Bridget with me, just like all her peers. I know I will probably have that moment where I am smacked in the face watching the typical families and comparing them to ours. I understand this isn’t the time to corner the teacher and ask Bridget-specific questions.
I will be getting a glimpse of Bridget’s day. I will be able to see if her classmates “know” her. I will see how she interacts with them and her teacher. I will be able to go to her special education room and see how it has evolved from a kindergarten room to a first grade room.
Maybe, for just a brief moment in time, I will be a typical parent in a typical classroom meeting my child’s teacher and classmates.
I admit to being slightly terrified.