To His Teacher

 

Dear Miss Othmar,

You are about to become the third most important person in my son’s life.

You will spend more waking hours with him for the next nine months than his dad or I.

Your encouragement, understanding, creativity and enthusiasm for learning will impact my son’s life forever.

My son is intelligent, wise beyond his years, interested in learning about almost everything and unbelievably creative. One-on-one conversations with him will leave you amazed at the depth of his thoughts.

If you connect with him, if you play to his strengths, if you feed his love of science, math and reading, you will find he’s your most dedicated student. He will be your most loyal supporter. Your truest pupil.

However.

His ADHD, high-functioning Autism (what used to be called Asperger’s) and traumatic background sometimes interfere with his ability to show others who he really is.

He hears every little tick, hum and buzz in the building as though it’s right behind his ear. The fly most kids easily ignore will capture his attention like a tractor beam.

Transitions may leave him confused. Keeping himself organized is an almost insurmountable task. Writing assignments in a planner takes him much longer than other kids, thanks to his sensory and motor difficulties.

Attempts to connect with his peers sometimes leave him reeling.

He craves—but doesn’t always understand the best way to procure—acceptance. He thinks making kids laugh is the same as being liked, which means he may act out to get a giggle.

Perceived unfairness blows his mind; he has difficulty ratcheting his emotions back if he finds himself or others being treated in a way that “does not compute.”

However.

In an environment where he feels secure, encouraged and safe, many of these quirks minimize naturally.

Here are some suggestions for a smooth ride this year:

  • Be firm, fair and calm.

  • If he freaks out, give him a minute to calm down in a quiet space. Ask him how the situation could have been different—and what he can do in the future to avoid the situation.

  • Give him advance notice for transitions. “Five minutes until we leave for lunch. Have you finished your paper? What do you need to do next to get ready?

  • Find creative ways to get him involved. Ask him to master a concept so he can help teach someone else.

  • Notice his interactions with others. Feel free to “interfere,” to take him aside and make recommendations for relating.

  • When his attention wanes, stand by his desk, tap his page, put a hand on his shoulder…small connections to bring him back to earth.

  • Encourage him to take notes and write down his assignments, but please text me a picture of the assignment board.

  • Be firm, fair and calm. (This is really the most important.)

 

I am so thankful for your dedication to a wonderful education experience for all the kids in your class. I fully understand that you don’t have extra time to dedicate to “special” behavioral needs.

One last however:

With this kid, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure. If you can find a few extra minutes to pour in at the outset, the rest of your year—and his—will benefit. If you make a connection with him, he’ll be motivated to make you proud.

Thank you again, in advance, for everything.

 

About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'll give it to you straight. Success, failure, truth.

Posted on August 31, 2016, in Adoption, Parent and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. One teacher sent home a worksheet “100 stars tell me about your child in a million words or less” I told her this was like a red rag to a bull and proceeded to send her a 4 page long tribute to my disabled angel.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I give my son’s teacher verbal advice before the start of each year. It goes something like this. “When I was a kid, my Mom wished that I would have a son just like me. Her wish came true, Good luck. Call when you are ready for a parent-teacher conference.”

    The beautiful thing about this approach is that they are braced for the worst but when they find out that my son has a wonderful heart that is just covered up by too much boy they are always thrilled that it wasn’t near as bad as they thought.

    I love your letter by the way.

    rob

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Written beautifully!! Praying his teacher will be wonderful for him and pay attention to your letter.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think the letter is appropriate and is in the best interest for him and his sister, not to mention the hell at home. I can’t relate to the behavior, I haven’t been in your shoes. On the other side I think many Teachers are overworked underpaid and frustrated with their job and the changes coming down from the White House. Schools are required to do much more than ever with security, if it your child that shot it’s never enough money. I hope the town you live in has top rated schools with teacher’s who can handle a mix of students with someone getting the short end. The other thought which you are probably on top off. Many schools across the country have “Time Out” rooms in class or in another location. The teacher decides the kid is being difficult or won’t calm down, they put the kids in a dark room with just a chair, no window and leave for 10-16 minutes. It’s punishing the child which affect everything for them. Arm off Angles had one in her previous job, she taught gifted yet troubled kids. She verified what I had read in a Change.org petition. Just a heads up if you didn’t know. Not all schools handle disruptions that way, there is value in knowing how they do handle those times which are bound to happen when he gets lost in his head and anger.
    I wish you and the kids the best. Your girl isn’t having any trouble or is she still to young to worry about being cool?
    I have a feeling she will give her teacher more grey hair. I pray I’m wrong.
    Hugs
    M

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, you’re totally right. I’m writing the letter for her teacher next. 😉 We started out with a pretty horrible school but got permission to move them and we’re in a really sweet spot now. The administration is very supportive of our situation and of the kids. I think they’re doing well academically now in great part because of the staff at the school. We’re really thankful to be there; the teachers are in constant contact with us.
      XO

      Like

  5. What a beautiful letter! What a privilege to be his teacher!
    (Let us know how it is going. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Dear Miss Othmar – Adopting.org Adopting.org

Add your opinion here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: