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“That’s too small for me, Bella,” he told her. He then twirled his hips to an imaginary hoop. “Sometimes, you have to improvise,” Richardson told a visitor.
He’s done so most of his life.
“On Friday, when I picked him up, he was leaving the school and a little girl sitting outside, 30 feet away, was waving at him,” Gilmer recalled. “He couldn’t see that — both that it was somebody he knew and that she was waving. It never occurred to her.
“That happens to people his own age.”
Gilmer marvels at the way he has adapted and the way the children this year seemed to understand what adults often cannot. They seemed fascinated by the way Richardson often touches things they merely look at.
Abraham, 5, who graduated from preschool this week, didn’t seem to notice or care that Richardson never looks him or anyone else in the eye while conversing.
“He makes reading fun,” Abraham said.
Last week, Richardson was about to introduce a visitor to a staff member passing in the hall, but first had to ask the teacher who she was.
“Preschoolers don’t have any preconception about disabilities and what you can and can’t do,” said Michelle Trelstad, director of the Early Learning and Community program at Earle Brown Elementary.
“The children have had a year to observe Jordan,” Trelstad said. “What a great opportunity for them.”
Like the children who held their graduation ceremony Monday, Richardson moves on. He hopes to one day become a judge and is already bracing for all the blind-justice comments that surely will come with his robe.
“I’m nervous about the prospect of law school,” he said. “I feel like I’m being dropped into the center of a foreign country and I need to learn the language.
“I’m going from reading Harry Potter to reading Supreme Court opinions.”
Paul Levy • 612-673-4419
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