I read a story in the Sydney Morning Herald a couple of days ago about a special needs teacher, Sophie Murphy, who was called upon to assist airline crew to seat a boy with downs syndrome, who was refusing to get up from the aisle, so the plane could land. Within the text of the story there was a particular paragraph that struck me……

“On the plane, I got down on the floor in the aisle with Shamran. If he was going to move, I needed to introduce myself, find out his name, connect, let him speak, listen to him, see what the problem was, and not panic him or be punitive. I knew I needed to lock onto his eyes and show empathy. I learnt his favourite books, not as an ice breaker or an introduction, but to construct a real relationship, however brief.” 

She did such a fantastic job of connecting with this boy and gently encouraged him into his seat. Shamran has downs syndrome but what struck me is that all children should be approached like this in a time of crisis however big or small that crisis is. Connection is so powerful in everyday interactions.