Parent / Teacher Conferences.
In my son’s case, parents / teachers. Everything we do is plural around here. Teachers, therapists, repetitive sentences…
I imagine conferences for parents of typical kids go something like this: “Joey is a delight. A little chatty, but really, a bright star in the class.” Or “Katie is wonderful. She’s really coming out of her shell and is our top speller!”
Our conference went more like this: “Jax is improving. He only pretended Annie’s arm was an edible hot dog twice this week.”
We went through academics, social behaviors, sensory needs, speech, occupational therapy, test scores — our conference was over an hour. A big HOLLA to Jax’s teachers. These people are saints. Underpaid and undervalued saints. I would last about two hours in a kindergarten classroom before I went apeshit crazy in an Oscar-worthy performance of a play-dough meltdown.
As I will likely do at every parent-teacher conference I ever attend, I ended the conference by asking: “Do the other kids like him? Does he have friends?”
Because there’s the rub, right? My kid is different.
As a parent, I am thrilled to hear that Jax is reading like a pro and that he is mastering math. Of course I am. But what keeps me up at night, what gives every special needs mom I know an ulcer, isn’t whether he can read, but whether people are nice to him. Do the kids get him? Or (OW, there’s that ulcer) do they look at him and think “weird. different. not ok.”
Yay kindergarten. The kids get Jax, they like Jax, they help Jax. Some of these kiddos are downright protective of their little friend. I want to meet the parents of these kids for coffee and say “Thank You.” I don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s good, and without knowing it, you and your kick-ass child are giving me a huge gift. Thank you.
Remember this? Tough to argue with. (I might highlight “FLUSH” for my home, FYI).