Memories at Eden

July 03, 2014

Warning: Below is a really long, wordy post which may make you cross-eyed. Proceed at own caution.

For the whole of July, I'm back at Eden School no longer as an intern but as a part-timer!
Eden School is a vocational school for children with autism (not to be confused with Eton and it is NOT a childcare centre)

I sure am glad to be back because I sorely missed the kids and teachers. During my time as an intern, I was kinda like the 'SOS' YFA, the one who got thrown around to almost every class which suddenly needed someone to help. It didn't matter if I was already deployed to a class, I would just get called upon to assist some other class. From what I heard, they said because I was versatile and adaptable haha I don't know how true that is.

Despite being called to so many classes, the one particular class that I grown terribly attached to - both the teachers and the students, was Hudson. It wasn't a love-at-first-sight thing, neither were they the classes that had adorable, chatty kids. 

When I was first deployed there, I didn't really like it and it was even repulsed by the hygiene of some of them and wondered when I could leave the class. But as I started spending more time with them, I slowly grew fond of them and their individual traits. It was so gradual that I didn't realise they were slowly stealing bits and pieces of my heart. B was the boy I felt had the most disgusting hygiene - sneezing and coughing all over the place, playing with his saliva and spreading it all over the table. Somehow, he managed to make me fond of him over the time we spent together because he was very verbal and responsive. He is a really lovable kid (:

However, D is really the one who took my heart. We have come such a long way and till now, I can't believe how lucky I am. When I first joined the class, the kids that I always spent the most time with was B and D. While B was very friendly and responsive to me, D was not. In fact, he didn't even acknowledge my existence in the class. He never called me Teacher Wan Ying like the rest, never glanced at me and well, treated as if I wasn't there despite me coming into their class everyday. Throughout this time, I was spending a lot of time with D, running with him during morning exercises at the track, assisting him in Gen Voc, playing catching with him during recess and all. 

I was a little disappointed but I thought that was how he was like so I left it at that. Until one day when I went to find him at the basketball court where they were doing their morning exercises, he suddenly looked at me and grinned, followed by a cheery and loud,"Helloooo!" I was so surprised that I stood there grinning like an idiot. This happened over the next few days until it had become something I looked forward to everyday. It didn't matter that he didn't call my name because him acknowledging me, was already a step forward.

By then, it had come to the end of Term 1. I was afraid that after the term break, he would forget the bond that we were slowly building, and that all would go back to what it was once before.
However, at the start of Term 2, nothing was lost. During this first week, he finally learnt my name and could say it out during attendance when the teachers asked,''Who is that?" while pointing at me. He would say simply,"Wan Ying", without the teacher in front. I was fine with it because he called the other teachers by their first names to.

 However in the coming week, something magical happened. It was the usual routine, I went up to the second level to join the class for their morning exercise (the venue had changed to the second level corridor because the track was closed) and as I neared, D called out,"Hellooo. Teacher Wan Ying!" I went OMG and I ran towards him, not believing my ears and he said it once more, "Helloooooo Teacher Wan Ying!"

It made me so happy that I wanted to dance and shout for joy. Even Teacher Jeanette and Joanne (Hudson's teachers) turned and looked at D and then at me. "He called you TEACHER Wan Ying! D you biased ah" Ever since then, our friendship only got better- he would look for me all the time, laugh and smile a lot when I was around, look for me to play catching with him, using his shoulders to bump me playfully then expecting me to do the same and shouting my name from across the cafe when he saw me with another class. We were like each other's happy pill. According to Jeanette and Joanne, he was in a bad mood when he came to school but when I came into class, he brightened up. For me, I come to school each day looking forward to seeing him.But as they said, good things don't last and I was taken out of Hudson when their former teacher returned from maternity leave.

My heart ached so badly and the tears almost came out when my heads told me that I'm was not needed in that class anymore since their teacher was back. All I could do was force a smile and nod saying I understood and that it was okay. Inside, I was crushed. Honestly speaking, I felt like I was separated from my lover. It was that bad. The June holidays then came a rolling.

Now that I'm back, I really thought D would forget about me and it pained me.
But, that didn't happen. Right now, I'm deployed to Shelley and it is on the 3rd level opposite Hudson on the 4th level. Yesterday, Hudson was queuing outside their class and D turned and he stared at me. Then came the familiar, "Helloooooo Teacher Wan Ying!" I swear, I was so happy I couldn't stop smiling. And today when I was in Hammond which was opposite Hudson, there came the loud "Helloooooo Teacher Wan Ying!" again. Even the teachers were shocked and were looking around to see where I was.

I wish I could share photos of that class and of course my beloved D but sadly, I can't. I'm sure some of you will know how I feel and can definitely understand my joy.

My time in Shelley this week (:

Pardon my messy handwriting

These are drawn by A, a very bright and intelligent boy.
He absolutely loves numbers.

9 Elephants!

See how each drawing has numbers written in them?

7 Cats!

His drawing of Teacher Leo

And Teacher Irwin!

I then asked him to cut them out (:

Guys, I'm really excited for the coming week because I'm returning to Hudson class!

If you managed to read till here, I'm sorry for this super long narrative post and if there's anything you would like to know about autism or my experiences with children with autism, please do leave a comment below or drop me a message! I would be glad to do my answer them to the best of my abilities.


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