Moving On and Letting Go

One of our 'quirky' students is moving on to a new school. She came to us in grade one, with multiple needs. At first, as most schools do, is we looked at all the needs we needed to serve. Even as I write that, I realize that we, humans, want to 'fix' things. And I deliberately chose the word "humans" and not teachers. We all want the norm for our kids, because we think that will make life easier for them.

But, this little girl was not the norm. Let me tell you what she is: she is the center of her grandparent's universe, because they were bringing her up. Her parents had their own mental health and cognitive delay issues. Her grandparents stepped in and are raising her as their own.

She loves clothes, and hats, and jewelry and wears what she likes, not what other kids are wearing. This leads to some difficulties--a little too much skin showing, losing all the accessories, and dealing with comments from other kids.

She adores singing. Her grandparents bought her videos that were like kareoke to her and, I am sure these songs increased her sight words lists way more than any Dolch List.

She learned to speak her mind. We had discussed many times how vulnerable she would be to people who could easily influence her. So, her teachers explicitly taught her what was right and what was wrong. We can't protect her from everything, but she sure learned to state her own opinion and knew that she had rights! At times, we thought we had perhaps taught these skills too well!

So, now she moves in the middle of Grade 8 to a new school. Our staff is sad that she is leaving and worry about her. But, we have to believe that there are just as many caring staff and students at her new school. We have to believe that we and her grandparents have given her some of the skills and confidence to stand up for herself. We have made a transition plan and informed the new school about her strengths and weaknesses. And we have to trust that we have done our job.

Good luck, D!

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