My sister grew up with Wes. He was popular in elementary because he was nice to everyone. He was popular in junior high because he was nice to everyone. Nice doesn't do the boy justice. He truly loved everyone.
Eighth grade is rough, kids pushing to find their place, not wanting to stand out too much or be seen with the wrong person. In their 8th grade class, there was a girl, we'll call her Sarah. My sister didn't know this girls exact diagnosis but Sarah was mentally disabled. Sarah told EVERYONE that Wes was her boyfriend. She loved him. He never shied away from her or even corrected her. He was always good natured about it.
In 8th grade there was only one dance the whole year, the Valentine's Dance. Wes asked Sarah to go with him. She wore a pretty dress, he bought her flowers. That night she spent the whole night with the popular kids, dancing and having fun.
We have since moved so we do not know Wes anymore. But from now on he will be someone who gives me hope. Hope that no matter what the future holds, there will be good kids who will love my son even if he is different. And Sarah gives me hope, hope that no matter what the future holds, my son will be that outgoing, that self-confident.
I still am not sure about when JT will be mainstreamed but maybe he will find his "Wes". Please let there be kids like Wes for our children....