It’s that time of year again. Parent/Teacher conferences happened yesterday. Wheee!!!
So much fun to be had by all.
Honestly, it was a good meeting. I always go into these conferences with a little trepidation. I mean, we all know that Miss O can be a challenge. She’s sweet and stubborn and smart and frustrating and funny and sort of anti-social all rolled into an adorable, exasperating little package.
I met with both her regular ed class teacher and her special ed teacher. They’re both wonderful women who seem to genuinely care about Olivia. If they don’t, they’re both amazing actresses and deserve Oscars for their performances.
The good: Olivia is reading at a third grade level. She comprehends what she reads, she can explain the story after reading it, she puts inflection into the narrative even when not asked to do so. She enjoys books and telling stories. Her imagination is huge and her ability to talk about what she’s thinking has improved tremendously over the past couple of years.
Socially, she’s also coming along well. While she still doesn’t talk quite as much to her peers as we’d like, she is well-liked among her classmates. There is one girl specifically who seems to watch out for Olivia and wants to help her whenever possible. This girl is the classroom shoe-tyer. She just waits for an opportunity to help Olivia by tying her shoes. I think this is sweet.
There is a boy in the class who sits next to Olivia at lunch every single day. He keeps an eye on what she’s eaten and encourages her to eat more. I don’t even know which boy this is but I adore him from afar.
She’s started sitting with her class again in the cafeteria and she’s actually still eating. She doesn’t eat as much as she was when she was sitting either alone or with just a few classmates but she is eating and we consider this a win.
The Not-So-Good: She doesn’t test well when she’s left to her own devices when testing occurs. She tests very well when her special ed teacher sits near her and keeps her on task. Mrs. A never gives O the answers, she doesn’t read the questions or the test to her, she just reminds O to take her time and really read what she’s been presented. So we’re amending O’s IEP to reflect the need for a one-to-one aide during testing.
We’re also amending the IEP to state that Olivia doesn’t have to do quite as much classwork as the rest of her classmates. She needs more time to do the work and so she’ll be given as much time as the rest of the class and be graded on what she gets finished without being penalized for the parts not finished.
This does not mean that Liv is being allowed to not learn areas of the curriculum. She still has to master all the skill, but she doesn’t have to do homework for an hour a night just to get done what a typical kid would finish in twenty minutes. I love this amendment.
She still doesn’t actually play with her peers at recess but she definitely considers having recess taken away from her to be a punishment and she will do almost anything to avoid not going outside with her peers. I find this interesting. I love that she wants to be near her peers even if she isn’t actually interacting with them. I tell myself that she’s learning from them through observation and at some point will be ready and willing to actually play with these kids.
All in all, it was a good conference. Obviously, my conferences for Olivia are always going to be different from the ones I had when Alyssa was in elementary. The biggest complaint her fourth grade teacher could come up with was to suggest that Alyssa work on her handwriting. Ha! She even laughed when she said it, very much aware of the silliness of the constructive ‘criticism’ she was giving. She admitted that she was advised to give the parents something their kids could work on.
But Olivia is trying. She’s growing and learning and continuing to improve and that’s all we can ask of her. She works hard at school and at home. Sure, she has to be reminded to stay on task but even some typical second graders need that.
The important thing is that we’re not giving up on her and she’s not giving up on herself or school. I’m so proud of this girl and how far she’s come. She’s doing so much more than most people expected of her and I just glad to be able to watch her change her world, one sparkly dress at a time.