School report time. The place where good trees go to die.
I fucking hate them.
School reports, not trees. I love trees.
There is something very confronting & very final about words on paper. When it’s right there in front of you, in black & white, you can’t escape it. That’s how it is, whether you like it or not.
As the years pass, I am learning not to put too much emphasis on my children’s school reports. Master 10, Mr ASD, Mayor of Spunk City, especially. But just between you & I, there’s still a part of me that opens up the big white envelope, twice a year, with the hugest hope that maybe this one will be different.
Maybe this one will talk about what a huge accomplishment it is that my son with autism manages to cope in a mainstream setting every day.
Maybe it will talk about while he doesn’t really have any friends, he goes to school with an excited smile on his face, every day.
Maybe this one will talk about how awesome it is that he is finally starting to understand the concept of multiplication.
Maybe this one will talk about how he has finally learnt not to put capital letters in the middle of sentences.
Maybe this one will talk about how the square peg that tries to fit into a round hole every day, is a fucking legend who is more resilient than most typical children.
Maybe this one will focus on all the amazing things that he CAN do, and not reiterate to us, the things that he cannot.
We are already well aware.
We weren’t sure he would ever learn to write. So we celebrate the fact that now he can. On the lines. Like a boss. And his spelling is next level. Thank you ASD brain. Your memory is impeccable.
We weren’t sure he would ever learn to read.
So we celebrate the fact that reading is now one of his favourite things to do. He might be reading his box set of “Diary of a wimpy kid” for the 4th time. But 0 fucks. Because he is reading. And he loves it.
We weren’t sure he would ever attend mainstream School.
So we celebrate the fact that he is now in his 5th year of attending a small mainstream school where there are very limited special needs children. There are very limited children like himself. If any. And no one in his age group. He is the only au-mazing, au-some, au-tistic child in his grade.
Let’s celebrate that.
He failed everything.
I knew that would be the case. But again, words on paper. Black & white. Ouch.
If only there was more emphasis placed on perseverance, heart, attitude, attractiveness.
Ha. Couldn’t help myself. He’d get an A+ for the last one.
Deciding to mainstream my special needs son is the hardest thing I have ever done. For the first 2 years I would drop him off, go home & cry. And wish the hours away so he could come home to me again.
His safe place.
5 years in and I am so glad we chose mainstream. That is where he belongs. I believe that is where all children with special needs belong, if they can cope with it.
But I hate the reporting process. I think it is unfair for the child. And anyone that loves that child. I don’t need anyone to sugar coat it. That’s not what I’m asking. Of course I need to know what he needs to work on. What’s he’s struggling with. But I also need acknowledgment of the au-mazing things he achieves daily.
There was none of that.
I always say this & it never happens. But next time I’m not going to read it.
I’m going to cut it in half, throw it away & kiss my boy on his gorgeous head & congratulate him for being exactly who he is.
He might not get algebra at all, but this year he learnt to tie his shoe laces and that is fucking massive!
When he grows up, his dream is to be the person who cooks the chips at McDonalds. If I have to buy a franchise to make that happen, you better bloody believe that I will.
Of course I believe he is destined for bigger things, but this is his journey, not mine. And I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen. Whatever “it” turns out to be.