Lucy has had a rocky beginning to 6th grade.

I have been in pretty good contact with her teachers, and there have been some random outbursts here and there that I was aware of.  It was tough for her to realize that she has her own aide to help her (as recommended by her teacher last year…she just wants to ask her neighbors when she can’t see something and needs clarification and it was taking too much time out of class instruction and other students learning, so she figured it would be good to introduce a helper this year).

The trouble is that Lucy does not want to be different.  She wants to be just like all the other kids. She doesn’t want a different computer.  She doesn’t want larger print worksheets.  She doesn’t want anyone following her around or helping her with her desk lamp.  She just wants to be normal.

And I don’t blame her one bit.  We had a really rough week where she was just a ball of emotion.  One day, after an emotional conversation for both of us, she finally told me she’d rather write what was going on in her heart rather than telling me.  So she did:

Oh how my heart ached at that note.  And still does.  And probably always will.  This is not an easy road for her.  And as a parent you just want, with all your might, to take these things away.  It’s heartbreaking that you can’t.

A couple weeks ago I got a couple messages from Lucy’s Braille teacher trying to call a “team meeting” together with all of her teachers.  At first I thought it was just a regular IEP meeting, but I got a text that was kind of like an SOS, we needed an emergency meeting, the sooner the better.  Apparently Lucy has been more and more on edge about getting pulled out of class, more feisty, won’t take help from the paraprofessionals who are there to help, won’t use her whiz-bang special technology to help her see things on the board and to make sense of the letters and numbers that are getting more and more difficult to see.  This results in slower work and continually asking her neighbors (peers sitting next to her) to repeat things and explain things, which in turn slows them and the whole class down.  The sweet Braille teacher let me know quite firmly that if Lucy could not use what they’re trying to give her they may have to move her our of the regular classroom.  Nothing like reading that text in the middle of the jumble of life to make everything around me turn black and sorrowful.  Lucy would be mortified about that.  She wants so much to be just like all her friends.  Explaining our predicament made Lucy wail as I tried to talk her through the problems as she was taking her bath early that morning.  I explained there were solutions, we would find them, but she had to be in charge of figuring out how to be a little more compliant.  

I went and met with the teachers for ten minutes alone at first, then Dave and Lucy joined in.  Lucy was so polite and smiling despite the gravity of the situation and I was so proud of her.  We sat at that table surrounded with so many people who are trying to help her, so many people who are rooting for her, who were so kind at explaining the situation and making it not seem like it was a “ganging up” thing, and I was just so thankful.
Praying my guts out that the seriousness of that heavy meeting will translate somehow to help that girl change her mind and accept all the cool things she’s being offered to help her.

Lucy, after our “meeting” with all her teachers a week or so ago, is letting her iron will soften a little bit with using the cool things available to her at school.  She has started bringing home her computer and finished listening to the book we were reading together on it.  It really is pretty cool, I hope she’ll continue to utilize all the great functions it has.

This is tricky business for an emergent teenager.  And for her teachers.  And for her mother.  But mostly for her.  And although my heart aches for her, I know she’s becoming stronger in the most beautiful ways as she wades through the tough stuff.  

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