But, I still worried. Because that's what I do. (I think it's what a lot of mom's do.)
When I was growing up, all of the special needs kids were in a different classroom, clear on the other side of school. Our class would visit them once or twice a year, but I was always very uncomfortable and didn't know what to do or say around them, so I mostly stayed quiet and helped where I was told to help. I never reached out and tried to befriend any of them on my own. I didn't know how, to be honest.
Now, the special needs kids are mainstreamed into the regular classroom, so my son is in the main class over 50% of his day. The result of this is that most of the kids are used to Spencer's random loud noises, the fact that he doesn't talk much (all of about ten words), that he sucks on his hands when his stomach hurts or if he's cold, he doesn't understand "personal space." They also know he loves to give hi-fives and knuckles, that he loves to laugh (and they do silly things to make his laugh,) and that he loves to say "hello."
Yesterday at church, the primary kids (probably around 40ish of them) were playing a game called, "Who's got the button?" The kids were passing around the button really fast and then whoever was picked had to figure out who had the button.
It was Spencer's turn to figure out who had the button. His adult helper watched really closely and figured out who had it, and pointed at the kid. Spencer pointed to the same kid and made some noise to indicate that he was the person who had the button.
When they realized he'd guessed right, the kids all started clapping and cheering and yelling, "Good job, Spencer! You found it, Spencer!" Then they were holding up their hands so he could run around and give high-fives to them. He had a huge smile on his face and was so happy with the praise and attention from everyone.
I so wish I could have seen it, but I had several people tell me about it after church--including one of the kids who had been in the room with everyone. These kids are so accepting of Spencer and his differences, and not only that, but they rejoice in his small successes and milestones. They made him so happy that morning, and for that, I am so grateful.
With all of Spencer's health problems, my husband and I are so aware that anything can happen at any time and we try to cherish every special moment, and for me, this was a special moment. This was a great reminder for me that there are a lot of good people raising good-hearted children who can accept someone who is different and love him for who he is.