Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sister's Touch

At Fox Hollow Elementary in Lehi special education teacher Barbara Mackay organizes a night where kids with special needs can come party and hang out with their siblings as well as other students, some with disabilities and some without. This affords the parents the opportunity to have a rare night out alone, something especially needed around the hectic Christmas season. I was assigned to go cover the event and show what it was all about. Often as a photographer I have been able to visually see a cross section of the story through my camera. I felt that one of the special aspects of this night was the fact that all kids were invited to come and enjoy the games, food, and activities together. Older and younger siblings of some of the kids in Barbara's class came as well. At one point in the program two members of the Lone Peak High School Drum Line came to play and get the kids excited for Santa to make an appearance. Raymond Eberly liked the music but the piercing sound of the drums was too much for his ears. When his older sister Kaitlin noticed him watching intently while holding his ears, she slid in behind him with legs on both sides of him and covered his ears for him.
Human touch is something I have been thinking of more and more lately. I am noticing how important and symbolic it can be. Kaitlin lovingly has her arms around him and his pudgy little hands are on her arms in acceptance of her help. I didn't have time to talk much to them but given Raymonds needs, I imagine that Kaitlin performs more than the typical big sister duties entail. How much does the meaning of touch increase when we know the story that is backstage to this human interaction.

3 comments:

Baroque said...

This post is amazing. I have a niece that is "special needs" and she has a little sister. We call her the big little sister. You truly can see the love of God through the tender touch of children. Your photos and insight are awesome.

Ricardo de Freitas said...

Raymond reminds me of my son Andrew who has special needs too.

abrandname said...

This post resonated with me in more ways than one.....

I am employed at a special needs "school"....I see kids like Raymond every day and I am enamored by them.....the joys and sorrows that their parents feel and the ups and downs....

We also have nights where our children and their siblings can come so the parents can have a respite.....

The caring older siblings really do feel and care so much....

Your pictures are absolutely worthy of so much praise....You are truly talented....I found you through my best friends blog....Trackin It....She also takes amazing pictures....

Thank you for the beautiful reminders of the world...