Brushing Away the Fears of the World

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” -Maya Angelou

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” -Maya Angelou

When the occupational therapist handed each of us a three-inch plastic brush, my co-teacher and I looked skeptically at one another.

I was pretty sure we were both thinking of certain male students in our classroom who possessed a force with no limits. In a fit of rage, they could destroy the classroom with one hand while putting a classmate in a headlock with the other.

And these boys, who made pro wrestlers look like amateurs, were going to be calmed by a measly brush?

I just couldn’t see it.

But when you’re desperate, you begin to look for hope in unusual forms. Not only had the first three weeks of school been challenging; they had been soul-crushing. We quickly understood why the twelve particular students in our class had exhausted all other special education resources in the district. And unfortunately, if they could not make progress in our specialized program, they’d be forced to attend an alternative school.

That’s where the little plastic brush came in.

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