I stumbled upon of shared posts/videos lately about kids with autism or about special kids. The term ‘special’ here means a lot to me. Today I sat down and I silently prayed for the two little boys I taught last year. Brandon who was that time 6 and his little brother Oscar who was 4. I taught them how to swim and I’ve never been challenge emotionally that much before. After 3 weeks teaching them, I told mummy how tiring it was and I don’t know how their parents do it at home because teaching them swimming was already the most difficult thing I ever had to do.
I didn’t know what Brandon has but I knew Oscar has ADHD (which is a condition persists with inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity). I began seeing Brandon hitting himself with his fists sometimes and I could only assume he is an autistic child. The thing about special kids, they’re attached to you and when I fell sick on Sunday morning and couldn’t make it for their class, a replacement teacher took over the class and they refused to pay attention to her. I remembered holding Brandon’s hands and slipped my fingers in between his and told him “Brandon, stop. It’s okay. Teacher is here.” I repeated this line over and over again until he stared into my eyes though his were teary.
I remembered Oscar biting me and I came home with his little teeth marks or fingernails marks on my forearms and watching Oscar running around the pool while I waited for him to tire out. I remembered hold both of the boys’ hands while we sat next to each other and sang nursery rhymes. From singing ‘Ringa Ringa Roses’ to ‘Baa, Baa, Black Sheep’, I did it. Not to make my job easier but to make them calm. I watched the boys attempted self-inflected injuries (by hitting their heads on the wooden fences that were around the pool) and threw tantrums. Their mother and the maid helped me, of course. But I had to keep telling myself to not lose it ; not in front of them anyways.
People don’t know what it’s like ; to be around special kids or let alone, teach them how to swim. Times weren’t always bad. The hugs, the ‘Bye bye teacher! See you next Sunday!!’s and moments where they would share their snacks were what made my heart light up. You don’t know how difficult to teach kids how to swim but one thing is for a fact : Children are the most forgiving and loving humans ever. Having little Brandon hugging my legs while he looked up smiling with one of his front teeth missing and little Oscar giving high-fives, I knew then that not everyone can teach a child how to swim. It takes patience, love and trust. The child has to look at you right in the eyes to believe that everything will be alright ; that you will protect him/her.
I found a movie that I could relate to : Jack of the Red Hearts. It can pull anyone’s heart strings and I felt what AnnaSophia Robb felt in the movie. I hope it pulls your heartstrings too, readers 🙂