It is a strange experience, going to a school to talk about your child’s “educational plan.” Whether the meeting goes good or bad, the process itself is somehow draining. To be honest, after 14, almost 15 years of sitting around tables with teachers and therapists of varying specialities I have become an expert at blocking out what I don’t want to hear or numbers I would rather not focus on.
At our most recent meeting I let my guard slip, I glanced at numbers I have long since decided are unimportant and by the time the meeting was over I found my crazy-self googling what they meant before my daughter arrived with her backpack in hand.
With every step we took down the noisy high school hallway I felt out of place. Aside from feeling like I was trapped in Abercrombie rather than wandering through Ann Taylor, I felt the numbers, the labels constricting the line we walked.
My daughter led the way, leaning towards her bag to cover one ear, crunching her shoulder to protect the other. Homecoming festivities were booming through every hallway and it was all I could do not to track down the PA system and ask for silence because the noise was too much for her, too much for both of us.
She maneuvered crowded halls and I brought her attention to students saying hello, asking where she was going, telling her to have a good weekend and commenting on her cool soccer shirt. In a school of thousands so many know her and love her.
My daughter may be 1 in 88 but she is not numbers or charts or progress reports. She is a brown-haired, blue-eyed girl who is loved by everyone who takes the time to look past a label.
At Childswork today I’m discussing our decision to talk, or not talk, about autism with Ashlyn. Would love to hear what you think of our approach.
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