Dear Middle School Teachers,
I just received Sam’s mid-term grades, and I just wanted to say ‘Thank You’. I had some anxieties about Middle School, organization, time management. I’m assuming you’ve all seen this manila folder, Sam’s file. In my mind it has this large, red stamp across the front that says, ‘ADHD’. Inside are old Clearview nurse forms with medication instructions – first Ritalin, then Adderall, then, (frankly a lifesaver- screw me anti-pharma extremists) Strattera. But nothing for the last year, as my blossoming boy is med-free (screw me over-prescribing psychiatrists). The world is not black & white. Find your grey.
The diagnosis you won’t see in that file (which if you had a hot minute to spare among your spread-too-thin, under appreciated time, you probably reviewed on a screen, but in my head it is a manila folder with a red stamp.) What you won’t see is his Asperger’s diagnosis.
You know how I have to annoyingly ask you to send two copies of every important paper/calendar home at Back to School night? That whole 50/50 thing? Well, it’s not just where they sleep. It’s something called Custodial Custody. And it’s shared. And if his father, who loves him very much, doesn't feel it’s in his best interest to sign the release, he’s not going to sign the release. And he has as much right to that choice as I do.
So you’re in the dark. You may not know that Sam will absorb information well if you present it in a straight-forward manner, but if you make an analogy or use hyperbole to make your point (which is exactly what will engage 80% of your class, and I get that) you will lose Sam. Your concern is the class as a whole, and my concern is one out of your thirty students, and this will sometimes put us at odds.
So I don’t expect miracles. But – that is what I got. I got a mid-term report that sent me over the moon. Much of that is Sam, and much of that is you, and I just wanted to say Thank You.
(Sam Carr’s Mom)
P.S. – you haven’t heard from me yet, because I spent most of elementary school micro-managing Sam’s education, trying (sometimes succeeding) to pick his teachers, his reading group, his disciplinary system. I called it “being an advocate”, and sometimes it is. But I didn't want to ‘warn you’ or ‘advise you’ – I think you know what you’re doing, more than I do as I didn't study the science of education – I wanted you to meet Sam with open arms and find your own way to him. And you have shined, and I am always happy to partner with you when you think it will be helpful. You can reach me at ________________________________.