Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Finding the right

Expressive language deficits
Receptive language deficits
Sensory processing difficulties
Impaired auditory processing
Reading comprehension delays
Impaired social skills

The list grows and contracts. We spend our days correcting deficits. Pushing him, prodding him. No matter how much he achieves, it isn't enough. Each time I leave a meeting with well-intentioned professionals, I wonder, does he do anything right?

We demand he control his extraneous vocals. We want him to communicate more fluently. We expect him to tolerate sounds, lights and textures he finds overwhelming. We want him to find order in a world he finds disordered. We expect him to process auditory information while often ignoring his visual strengths. We send a clearly defined message: be more like us.

The endless criticism would send most mortals into a lifetime of analysis and endless reflection of what constitutes good enough.  

Still, he greets most days with a welcoming smile, eager to please. He accepts us as we are wanting little more than a smile back. He doesn’t care if we are short or tall, rich or poor, articulate or barely literate. Each morning as he smiles down at me I wonder does he grow weary of trying? Does he find our demands insatiable?

To be successful in this world there are skills to master, there is no denying that. But I wonder, in our quest to correct all the "wrongs" do we miss so much that is right? Do we missing the very essence of his being?

Beginning today, I vow to find the “right” each day:

His smile and humor brightens the grayest of days. He brings joy and acceptance to anyone who takes the time to notice. As I reflect on this I know it is my privilege to be his mom.

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  1. I remember at one IEP meeting, after all us "professionals" had said our bit, you smiled in your charming way and said, "So, should we just stick this kid in a box and throw him away?"
    It comes through loud and clear that you see the good in him every day. I hope his new professionals do as well!

  2. LOL. Did I say that? I have to admit it surely sounds like me. We have been lucky enough to work with many wonderful people, you among the highlights. I think it is human nature (mine included) to focus on what needs improvement. I needed to remind myself it isn't the only measure. I thought back to early on when I told someone that my child was a "Sam" and all I wanted for him was to be the best "Sam" he could be. Hopefully we will get there.

  3. Last year my 6th grader's Math Teacher asked if we (his mom and dad) would come in for a converation before school about his (wildly varied) performance. We said that, of course, we would. He asked if our son would like to join us. We agred that he should. He Then asked if the reading specialist could join us; our son has dyslexia. Of course she should be included. The invitee list then mushroomed to an open invitation to his entire teaching team.

    As testamony to their investment in our son, they all came. Math, Language Arts (Writing AND Reading, Social Studies, Science, The Reading Specialist, The Classroom Assistant - seven teachers in all, and the two of us. Did I mention that our son was at the meeting, too? Can you imagine a meeting at your office where NINE of your superiors are brought in to 'constructively criticize' your performance? Who could blame him for feeling picked on?

    Happily we were able to convince him that we were all there because we want him to succeed and know he can. We wanted to know how we can help him do so. I couldn't have been more proud of him than at the close of the meeting he looked at us all in eye and declared "Well, I will take this all into consideration." That he left that room feeling supported, but valued was invaluable.

    1. Nice "ending" to the story. That is what every parent hopes for, I think.

  4. And you know what? He does have a beautiful smile. I like that idea, that he accepts everyone despite their always seeming to criticise him. Thank you for writing this!

    1. Thanks. Yes, Sam has good attitude toward life. I am glad the the endless pushing doesn't diminish his spirit. When he smiles, I smile.