I Am Thankful My Child With a Disability Has a Loving Aide at School

I always wondered what it would be like to be in an inclusive classroom. When I was a child, it wasn’t done. Now, its in almost every classroom at many schools. I always wondered what other kids thought about aides. Did they know who the child’s aides were? Did they understand why they were there? What if children thought they were mean or scary and the little ones couldn’t share their feelings?

For me, I feel we are blessed by our school district. I have more than fallen in love with every aide and paraprofessional I have encountered. When my oldest was young, I sat in awe as aides lead students to where they needed to be with kindness and compassion. I knew our district was doing the best they could, but I still wondered if children saw what I saw.

Now that I am a parent of a child with disabilities, what I witnessed when my own daughter was young is something that not only resonates in my mind, but it settles in my heart. I knew some of the same aides were still in the district and I took comfort in that knowledge. Still, I sat back at home when I first put my own child on the bus and wondered. Would she be OK? As I plow through laundry folding I hope she isn’t sad, scared or hurting. I know as she lives life with a disability things aren’t always going to be easy and she might not always be easy for the outside world to love — but I do know when she’s with her aide, she is more than OK. She is happy. She is not scared or hurting. And more than that… she is loved.

Last week it was proven to me when I saw the love through another child’s eyes. I saw exactly who the aide is to my child. The child commented my daughter attended school with her “daytime mommy.” When I cannot be by my child’s side, the aide is there. It is comforting to know a child identifies the aide in this way. Why? Children say what they see, so they see a mothering figure loving my girl.

When we think of what we want to be as mothers, I usually put “loving” first. Though my little one cannot always tell me how she feels, when another child pipes up and lets me know she saw my little one at school with her “daytime mommy,” I know the aide is all I want for my child and more.

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