"A" For Effort

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I had a parent-teacher conference last Friday with Katie’s wonderful second grade teacher. The news is mixed:

1. Katie is doing great in reading. Her comprehension skills are advanced, and her decoding skills reach well into middle school levels. Although I tried hard not to puff out my chest in motherly pride at this news of my offspring’s clear superiority, I failed utterly.

2. Katie is the apple of her math teacher’s eye. She’s the only second grader in her class and still manages to get the top score on nearly every test. More chest puffing ensued, though I wasn’t surprised at this bit of news. Katie likes math. It makes sense; not like people.

3. Judging from Katie’s many grudgingly completed writing samples and her conversation in class, her teacher can be excused for thinking that we let her play video games all day long, every day. For the record, this is not true. I explained to Mrs. M that Asperger’s kids are famously obsessive, fixating on one or two interests at a time to the exclusion of all others. They like to learn everything there is to know about a subject and talk about it constantly. That’s why some people call it “Little Professor Syndrome.”

4. Katie’s friendships are improving, an answer to prayers for which I thank God profusely! The same kids who used to “mother” her along are now relating to her more as a peer, and that’s a great sign of her emotional growth. Her teacher even had to chastise her for chattering with one of her friends during a quiet time in class the other day, a “problem” that fills me with delight! I think I’m happier about this than about all of the academic progress she has made.

Just as the conference was ending, Caleb reminded me that I still have a lot of teaching to do when he picked up Mrs. M’s apple, which was sitting right in front of her, and took a giant bite out of it! I was so embarrassed.

But he wasn’t.

Good thing I’m not being graded on the little one yet.

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14 responses »

  1. On the bright side, Caleb only took one apple. At my recent conferences I had made this welcoming, festive table of cookies, coffee, etc. and the first three little children that came with their mother grabbed about half of the cookies and ran down the hall. So much for my welcoming, festive table! Congrats on your daughter’s successes.

  2. Yay Katie! Glad she is doing so well. Too funny that Caleb helped himself. Kids are full of surprises, aren’t they? 🙂

  3. God can teach us so much through our children. What a blessing your little Katie must be as you observe the unique way her mind works. It must be fascinating, as well as frustrating at times. A good friend and I use to walk each morning and, during our walks, she shared with me the process her and her husband went through diagnosing her son with Asperger’s. It was such a relief to their family to help them understand how Alex’s mind worked. He was blessed with many successes, and last year graduated from high school, and is doing very well. He’s a great kid with a wonderful sense of humor. Thank you, Lord, for our unique children.

  4. Hello! I came over from Corey’s. You are an incredible writer! There should be lots of comments here and I’m soon going to advertise you. I love your thoughtful insights!

  5. That sounds like a very wonderful meeting. Ha ha, picking up a healthy apple and eating it is not as bad as throwing some tantrum. I think you are doing quite well.

  6. Oh don’t you just love parent-teacher conferences? Always something to learn, something unexpected…even if it isn’t the kid you are there to discuss. Go Katie!! Sounds like she is doing great!!

  7. I think that is great news. I’m so glad to hear her progress with friends – I know that is something that you worry about. And I love that Caleb took a bite from the apple – it’s just kind of a fitting end to the conference!

  8. So, did you send Katie with a new apple for Ms. M? And, congrats to both you & Katie for the accomplishments she achieved, and those she has yet to tackle!!!

  9. You’ve made my day with Caleb and the apple. And hurray for your daughter doing so well academically and socially. I can see where her little brother gets his spunk from.

  10. How did I not know Katie has AS? J. has it too; I lovingly refer to him as Rain Man Lite. (Ok sometimes it’s not so lovingly, but you know what I mean.)

    Teacher assessment scares the crap out of me…

  11. Thanks for the applause and encouragement–believe me, I need it! (Just don’t throw apples.)

    Inland Empire Girl–The cookies were a great idea; sorry a few took advantage. Next conference time, you should set up a Pez dispenser with a little sign that says “One Per Customer”!

    Shabby–Welcome, and thank you!

    Karyn–I didn’t know that about J, either! You’d think after all the time we’ve spent on each other’s blogs, we’d have discovered such a similarity long ago! 🙂 They’re a challenge for sure; just about the time you’re about to go over the edge from telling them the same thing a dozen times, they do something so wonderful or profound that you can’t believe it. 🙂

  12. i also didn’t know that katie had AS. that is a testament to her abilities, since i never picked up on any signs from your previous posts.

    (not that i am an expert! i do teach special ed, though, and have several ASD kiddos!)

    i am so glad she is doing well. social growth is such a heartwarmer! especially after seeing obvious delays. congratulations!

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