It’s the time of year for parent/teacher conferences. We had Little Man’s Monday afternoon. I’d been a little bit nervous about it since getting the notice a couple weeks ago, especially after reading the social story for his days at school. We struggled mightily last year to get him to stay in class long enough to participate in the lesson, and get his work done. And then he wasn’t bringing his work home to finish. It was a battle the entire school year. How would that affect him academically in the long run? He’s a smart kid, but even smart kids can fall behind if they’re not doing the work.
I’ll admit, I was also a bit nervous about talking with his teachers (he has two main teachers this year, plus his special ed teacher). It’s always this thing for me – that his teacher(s) will see through the prickliness to the amazing, gifted boy inside. He has so much to give and share, but it takes a certain type of person being patient enough to be allowed in to see that.
Let’s add to all of this, the conferences are student-lead. He had to walk us through his progress report. When he *has* to do something, he can shut down, go completely silent, not comply. But comply he did. I was amazed. What struck me the most is his self-awareness. He totally knows his strengths and the areas he needs improvement. He explained them all, as well as his plans for improvement where he needs it. I was stunned. He’s completely in tune with what we as his parents and teachers know. We didn’t have to tell him.
It seems he’s blossomed this year. I think it’s a combination of things….he’s familiar with the school, its rhythms and routines. He has a good core group of friends at school and in the neighborhood. He has matured somewhat. I can’t help but think lowering the dose of his ADHD med, and thus taking away some of the resultant anxiety, has helped him as well. His meltdowns are fewer. His anxiety is lower. His patience level is up. His frustration level is lower. That means he is in class more than he was last year. He’s finishing his work before he bails. He’s taking more time with his work. He’s excelling academically, and he’s proud of that.
We still have things to work on, things we need to make sure start happening so that wherever he ends up for high school, he is prepared in all ways. I did breath a sigh of relief walking out of our conference on Monday. I’m going to hang onto that for a bit. The future will come when it comes and we’ll deal with it then. For now, I’m back to reveling in this.