by Rachel Zook
Summer is winding down and the school year is just around the next corner. All the dread and fear special needs parents feel when they know school is about to start is starting to crop up. I could choose to let this fear take hold of me again this year, or I can remember that what happens at school is not all my child with special needs is.
The following story is an entry from my blog about just that. I hope it will be a reminder to each of us as we start school again, that what it says on all the paperwork we get about our child is not all our child is.
I will say that this special needs mommy hates report card day! Why? Because it does not show a complete picture of my child. I feel it is like an IEP meeting where all the therapists take time telling me what my child does not know! I just want to scream, “But what about all she has learned?”
Report cards are like that too me–they just tell me that she does not know this, this, this, this, and this. Like I did not know she was behind. My eyes are not blind, I know she is not with her friends in her class, but….
What it does not say is how hard she works daily to hear and understand all the sounds and words thrown at her.
It does not tell me the hours a week she spends in some form of therapy.
It does not tell me incredible amount of passion she has for school, for learning, for her friends and for life in general!
Report cards do not tell about the many afternoons she spends at the kitchen table working on writing her letters, sight words and numbers.
That piece of paper does not tell you about how incredibly hard it is for her to walk down the long hallway to her room, to the gym or the lunchroom.
It leaves out that last year she barely spoke and now she speaks in small sentences and can repeat most words and sounds she hears when she is able to focus and hear clearly.
I really wish that piece of paper told of her laughter and creative spirit that leads to many dance shows in my living room in costumes of all crazy types.
I know in my head report cards are important to see growth in a unified way, but my heart hurts every time I pull it out of her folder. But tonight as I sit and wonder, I will remind myself that paper is not who my child is–she is so much more.