Two days ago, Leelo came home with a yearbook.
It was a school yearbook like any other, with individual pictures of the kids in every class, group class pictures, and two-page collages of each class's kids in action. All the kids' names were included along with their pictures.
This made me so happy.
Leelo's school is a segregated county school. All the students are kids like him, kids who need 1:1 supervision and attention. In this environment, the special ed world, confidentiality can be an issue: when Supervisor M and I have email exchanges with Leelo's teacher, we've been asked to refer to my son only by his initials.
I visit Leelo's school at least once a week even though it's twenty miles away, to keep in touch with the class staff. I see all his schoolmates there, and I see them on the bus, but I've never known any of their names.
Now I do. Now I know the children with whom my son goes to school. Now I can greet them, now I can feel more like a part of their community. Leelo's community.
Yesterday, while Leelo was getting off the bus, one of the other kids jumped out of his seat and ran to the front. The bus driver almost stopped him, until she saw that he had a yearbook in his hand. "Leelo!" the kid yelled, pointing at my son's photo in several places in the class collage, "That's Leelo!"
"That's right, Leelo goes to school with you, doesn't he?" I said.
Big smile from the boy.
Leelo and I walked into our home, and sat down. I opened his yearbook, and scanned the classes until I found the boy's name.
Now I know exactly who my son's friend is.