So often we hear the negative about our kids. We hear about all they cannot do after their evaluations, how far behind they are at conferences, what they have to work on during IEP meetings. It’s hard to hear these things, to read the reports full of these details, to craft the goals we hope will help them shorten the gap. Our hearts are pricked to read and hear our children dismantled in this way, because they are so much more than the sum of the things they need to work on. So much more.
To combat all the negative we celebrate the positive. No matter how small, every step of progress is noticed. We know our children better than anyone, and we know where they started, we know the hours they (and we) have put into the skills they have acquired. And we often deal with the fall out of how hard they have to work every single day.
The Roc works hard at school. He works hard to keep himself together all day, to be in the classroom and be a part of it. He works hard to be around his peers, to be socially appropriate. He works hard against his anxiety and the sensory onslaught that is the elementary school. And he does. He is mainstreamed in a first grade classroom, with para support, most of the day. He goes to the “resource room” for the second half of reading and math, to get more direct instruction. There is friendship group once a week and a social skills group once a week. It’s not easy for him. But he’s doing it.
The academics are coming along. Math is clicking for him, his writing is clearer, but he is behind in reading. We work everyday on his sight words, to keep the kindergarten words and add the new 1st grade words every week. When we work on his spelling words I hear him sounding them out, I know the information is there. At conferences we were told he is at “beginning kindergarten” in terms of his reading ability. I swallowed those bulging words and tried hard to lift my sinking stomach, a whole year behind, a little voice whispered in my ear.
Last week as I was leaving the school after volunteering the Roc’s special ed teacher, Ms. G, and I saw each other in the hallway. We stopped and chatted a bit and she very excitedly described how the Roc read a couple little sight words books to her that morning. Books that he hadn’t read in a while, but could read at one time. At first he said he couldn’t do it, and after her prompt he started to read. He even self corrected when he made a mistake, and then went back and reread the sentence. I grinned when I told her that I started to write her an email that morning, because he finally started to read those little books to me the night before. She has been sending a couple home every few weeks as he mastered them, but he would never read them to me, until now.
It was so nice to see her, to connect for a few minutes face to face, and to hear her joy at his progress. I love that she sees the positive and that she shares it with me.
Then on Friday when I got home from running an errand there was a message from Ms. G. I will admit to my heart kicking when I first heard her voice, one of the last times she called me it was to warn me that the Roc had not had a good afternoon. But it was a “good news call,” and I don’t know if all teachers do this periodically or if it is something just she does, either way, it’s wonderful to hear the positive and to know that she is celebrating it just as much as we do.
Hi there, it’s Ms. G calling with a good news phone call for the Roc. He has done an awesome job this morning. He did his sight word test with me for his first grade sight words from Mrs. H and got 36 out of 55 and breezed through them which was so amazing to see. Then, he is bringing 3 books home today. He even went and read one to Mr. H (assistant Principal) to show off which was a huge step because he was super nervous to do it. He got down there, walked in and he read the book! When we walked out he said “that was really fun, can I do it again?” So that was pretty awesome.
I just wanted to call and tell you he was doing a great job and to have a great weekend!
All of that is pretty awesome.
But what is really awesome is that she shared it with us. That she took the time to call me and let me know that he willingly read his sight words, and that she had him go down and read a book to the assistant Principal! What a confidence booster for him! What a great idea!
When I asked the Roc about it he grinned and said, ” I did! I read a book to Mr. H even though I was nervous! I did a good job!”
It makes me smile every time I think about it. I’m happy to send him off to school knowing that he is being seen for more than just the deficits. The progress is also celebrated. That means more to me than words can describe.