"Grieving the loss of a child is a process, it begins the day your child passes and ends the day the parent joins them."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why does it bother me??

Paul and I had Carly's conference at school last night. All in all, it went pretty well. We learned, on the academic end, Carly is progressing nicely. For her anyway. She is getting more vocal..which is GREAT! She is showing pre-reading skills and that's great too! She is getting numbers and working very hard to grasp the math concepts. We are all thrilled that she is more vocal. That she can write numbers and letters. That she can spell/write her name. That she knows all of her colors and shapes. That she is beginning to read. She can do word searches for crying out loud! Not bad when put to parents in those terms.

Socially, Carly is blossoming. She is quite popular. All the girls in her classroom want to be her friend. Everyone wants their turn to sit with Carly during story time. Stand in line next to Carly. Sit at the lunch table, next to Carly. Anything Carly does, a steady stream of girls want to be there with her. The girls and boys, take great pride in any accomplishment that they see Carly master. The teacher told us, "they are Carly's cheerleaders". That makes us smile!!

But,,,,,there seems to always be a, but! Funny how that works isn't it? The teacher and resource teacher, (who Carly sees every day for 30 minute sessions) had to do it. I understand that. It just doesn't make it any easier to hear. They had to tell us, Carly is very behind her peers in terms of learning. Yes...she is progressing, but it's at her rate. Not at the rate of the class. Okay, so honestly, Paul and I know that. But, like I said, it doesn't make it any easier to hear. It kind of feels like a kick in the gut. Not a big ole kick in the gut, but a kick in the gut, nonetheless! However,we are thrilled with what she is doing. So is her resource teacher.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not at all upset with how conferences went. Not too much. What I mean is, they didn't tell us anything that we didn't already know. It's just hard to hear. As parents, we want what every parent wants. Their kid to thrive. To learn along side their peers. To gain independence. We understand that it will take Carly longer to get there, than say...her peers. But we have confidence that she will get there. How far she will go with her ability to learn is any one's guess. Of course we hope she continues on with her learning for many years to come. And from what I've read online recently..it's very possible that our kiddo's with Down syndrome continue to learn way into adulthood. Many educators feel that our kids will get to a point, where they maxed out their learning ability. So to speak.

At the end of the conference, I told the teacher's that we feel that any progress Carly makes in school, is HUGE. Even if it's a small accomplishment in the eye's of the educators...it's HUGE for Carly. And we're going to take whatever we get, and be proud of her! To that, they agreed!

Just wish I knew, why does it bother me?

After conferences, we headed down to the Girl Scout cookie stand. I've thought about signing Carly up for the Girl Scout's, but honestly I thought she would be too shy. And, up until this year, I believe that would have been the case. I guess I'd better start to think about it for next year. Hopefully, she will be even more vocal and more social. Anyway, we purchased 5 boxes of cookies. Oh my gosh...are they good!

Then we hit up the Book Fair that was going on in the library. Have I ever mentioned how much Carly LOVES books? She walks into a library and her eyes get as big as saucers. She is on cloud nine! We ended up buying her 4 books, a pencil...that she just had to have, and an eraser too. She thinks writing and erasing is just the coolest thing ever!

As we were getting ready to head home, we popped into the gym teachers office. I was curious as to how Carly was doing in gym class. At the beginning of the year, she was very shy in gym. She would stand back and observe the kids, rather than join in. Not anymore. This gym teacher video tapes bits and pieces of each child doing "their thing" in gym. He then loads them onto his computer, making it possible to share a little bit of gym class with the parents. So cool! Sadly, he only started doing this 3 months ago. We watched 2 clips of Carly in gym. The first clip was taken 3 months ago. The clip showed just how leery Carly was. She would take part, but was very hesitant. The second clip was taken last week. Holy Cow, what a difference in Miss Carly. She was involved. Focused. Having fun. Doing the activity for that day, which was under hand throwing. The gym teacher was very pleased with her progress. Although, he did admit...Carly does great as long as he keeps his distance! Apparently, Carly prefers the gym aide, over the gym teacher! After spring break, they will start doing over hand throwing. The gym teacher is excited for that session to start up because he has already seen Carly throw over hand. He thinks she has quite the arm on her!

In a nut shell. Conferences went okay. It's just so hard to hear what your child cant do. I hate that she has to be compared to her peers, but that's how the public school system works. That's how mainstreaming our kids works. And some how, I need to grow a little thicker skin. That way, maybe I can stop wondering, why it bothers me so.


Kelly said...

You feel this way because you are a "mommy"! No one wants to hear anything negative about our kiddos. We will always have these days, but I believe that this is what this journey is all about...living, loving, learning and growing!! These emotions are all key factors!! Carly is doing amazing things, making connections with those around her and is happy....and that is what is most important!

my family said...

so many things to comment on, lol

I HATE William's IEP and any other meeting too. He is high functioning but you are right there is always a "but" it does hurt even though we as parents know it inside. I just want to hear how wonderful, sweet and smart he is. It is just the parent in us.

The girls scout cookies....MMmmm dont get me started. Thin Mint should be outlawed :)

The gym teacher videoing the kids is a wonderful idea, glad you were able to watch it. Cool idea!

I'll stop now on all of the comments hehehe

Stephanie said...

Praise followed by a but! I think that's our norm. Even Em gets it at her young age. i am training myself to tune out the buts. I know that I will have an issue with them when Em gets into school. I love your blog because I can see what's coming. And sort of brace myself for it. I think Carly is so awesome. No buts about it!

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

We're in the same boat. I'm starting to dread school. *sigh* This has been a hard, hard year.

Becca said...

Wow, this post was so appropriate for me today!!! (Thanks for your comment on my blog, btw. It meant a lot). I, too, find it so much harder to hear these things, even when I already know them. It's like hearing someone else saying them makes them real and true. I love your perspective! And love that the gym teacher shared those clips of Carly - that's a fabulous tool.

Tausha said...

I would feel that same way with Sam and his in home therapists. They are excited at what he is doing BUT he needs to work on this and that. I hate hearing that. I guess it's the same as the school stuff which I bet I will hate as well. I think you are just being a Mom who loves her little girl!!

Lacey said...

Even though she is mainstreamed, they shouldn't be comparing her to her peers. They don't even compare my autistic son to his peers. Some years she may learn more than others. Tanner is doing great this year, but last year he didn't learn a thing! It will come, and we are all still learning, so it never ends!

Unknown said...

Lacey, I wondered if anyone would chime in on whether or not the school should compare her to her peers. I'm thinking they should not. I was the one who asked if we shouldn't keep her kindergarten another year. The Special Ed Director told me that they thinks it's important for "these kids", to continue on as long as possible with their "typical peers". Paul and I think they should revamp Carly's curriculum. She will likely never be where her peers are. Man..this is so hard. I don't know what to do. I had an advocate, but she turned out to be,,,well, not so hot. I needed her for a mtg last week. She said she couldn't come. But she never even contacted me to see how things went. I just feel like it's us, against the school. It SUCKS!

Rochelle said...

Awesome that she has come so far and is doing so many great things.
I am sorry that they compared her to her peers. That should never be done in any school conference whether your child has special needs or not.
Instead they should focus on strengths and areas of growth for Carly only(doesn't really matter what anyone else is doing right?)
I hope you have a close enough working relationship to both teacher and resource teacher to feel comfortable giving them your feedback about the conference. Hopefully then in the future they will only focus on Carly.

Good luck,

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My name is Sarah said...

This is Joyce. That was a fantastic report!!! My gosh there is so much positive about it. Huge progress from the begining of the year. My experience has been there will always be someone in the room who will be the glass is half empty kind of personality, but heck who cares when you have so much good happening. Just dwell on that. And for sure sign Carly up for Girl Scouts. Oh for my two cents keep her moving along with her peers, they will be cheering her on when she walks across the stage at graduation.

Mary said...

I cry after each parent/teacher conference. This reason is... it is hard to hear. I am so happy with Leah and her progress but it doesn't make it easy.

Michelle said...

We KNOW we should focus on all our kids ARE doing and the progress they ARE making. That's what is important - the progress you see - even if it is in their own time.

But oh, how hard that can be to do sometimes! It IS hard to hear what they're 'aren't' doing, or how far behind or blah blah blah. I think we'll deal with this through all the school years.

But how great it must have been to hear all the positives and seeing the difference in Carly on the gym video clips!