Yesterday was Report Card Day.
As a kid and young adult I always loved getting my report card.
I loved seeing how I did, what my teachers had to say, what little surprises my parents might learn about me and my behavior (which was almost always good with the occasional "talks too much in class"). I cared quite a bit about my grades - not obsessively - they weren't all A's - but they were good and I wanted to do well.
I was a good student. I loved school. Always.
(Okay, except those first two years in college. You couldn't really say I was a good student then but I definitely loved the experience.)
Getting Simon's report card is a bit of a different story.
When it's Report Card Day I encounter a mixture of thoughts and feelings:
THE CHALLENGING STUFF
- Seeing anything having to do with standardized or percentage-based numbers. Ugh. Just ugh. Usually I look at it, make a couple mental notes, and then move on to the next part of the packet. For Simon, like many students with delays/disabilities/issues, standardized testing (or any kind of testing really) is a major challenge. More often than not the test results say so very little about his actual abilities.
- For as much as I work on my attitude and perspective and acceptance and the bigger picture, it's still just hard to read about his struggles. I love him, the whole of him, and support and encourage him to do his best every single day.
THE GOOD STUFF
- Getting to see where he's at with this goals. Each year at his annual IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting we, along with his teacher and his program director, come up with specific goals related to reading, math, writing, speech & language, and social skills. Most of his goals this year revolve around social skills, reading, and speech & language. His report card includes updates on his progress for each of those areas.
- Anytime the teacher(s) include something personal. His speech teacher noted how "he comes to speech with a cheery attitude."
- It's a reminder that things change and progress and get better and get more challenging and that's just the way it goes. Whatever is the biggest issue right now will ebb and flow into another issue. I find it actually helps me keep things in perspective.
- He's doing just fine and is making forward progress at his own pace. We find ways to be proud of him every single day.
In addition to the "official" report card content, this was included in his packet:
The "M" next to "I enjoy reading." is one of the best things I've seen in a long time.
I got a little choked up when I came to that one.
This is the first year a form like this has been included with his report card. What I love about it is that it gives him a chance to be self-aware - to acknowledge which things might be more challenging for him and which things he's great at right now.
This is the kind of thing we hope for Simon.
That he can develop a love of reading and learning regardless of if he's performing right at grade level. That he can learn to recognize what he needs to work on and celebrate the areas where he excels.
The more confidence we can build in his own abilities the better equipped I believe he will be in the long run.
GO SIMON GO!