THE special students in the region’s schools were invited to a Christmas celebration. All the charitable and community groups contributed to make it a memorable event for the children.
I was labelled as a special student. Along with one other student from my school. Her name was Jess and yet out of everyone my age at school she was the one I least spoke to. Even when we caught the bus together from the same stop to the Christmas celebration 50 minutes away we barely spoke a few words.
At first the invitation to the Christmas party didn’t damage my pride. But when I saw my autistic foster brother James there among a stuffy room of handicapped school children in the same room chomping fast food with mouths open and laughing at all the lines of the live Raggedy Ann performance, I knew what I’ve been classed as.
These kids make me feel guilty, I thought. They are weird.
And I so much did not want to be classed among them.
I wanted to be normal.
My social worker the big, fat hairy man met me at the event. It made the time bearable. I could have a regular conversation with someone. We played soccer with a group of other workers and kids. Then I was able to choose one Christmas present from a pile.
I picked my first ever remote control car. It took 12 batteries to work, and those did not last long, but I arrived home fairly pleased with myself.