* This or That

I have surgery today. It is either scheduled for 6:00 AM or 12:30 PM. I was supposed to get a call…. The third person I asked about it said, “I’d go with the one you just spoke to.” Okay then.

I am either getting just a rotator cuff repair or an additional procedure to fasten the bicep to the bone somewhere. Three out of three folks I spoke to today were unaware of the biceps problem. So maybe it has gone away. Or not.

I was initially told I would have more range of movement than my procedure in March. I can drive immediately, for instance. Now I have heard that I will be immobilized for three+ weeks. It’s a 10-week recovery either way, optimistically speaking. I do need this fixed so I can swim again, so I’m good.

One thing is sure: I must bring a $250 copay. That reminds me of the game of Monopoly: Do not pass GO to collect $200, move directly to jail.

I’ll be going to Bull City (Durham, NC) for the operation. I DO like the hospital’s rendition of a bull. Just put that sucker in a sling and we are all set. I already have a pair of crutches!

* Puppet Show!

If you shop with Amazon, please consider donating a (small) portion of your purchase price to Puppet Show. You’ll need to login at https://smile.amazon.com to select the charity of your choice. There are SO many great ones to choose from, but being on the Board of Directors for Puppet Show, I support them of course!

We have been recruiting volunteers from UNC-Chapel Hill and the local school district. It’s awesome how many young folks are serving others! Sure, high school students are required to work in the community, but their enthusiasm is awesome. College students flocked to their recent CarolinaServes event. Way to go!

* Warning signs

Without doubt, early intervention is key to identifying dyslexia and providing the specialized instruction that creates new neural pathways. This spelling test is the work of a second grader who is struggling mightily. She has had ‘guided reading’ out the wazoo but nothing to address her phonological and phonetic weaknesses. She would certainly qualify as twice exceptional, with abundant signs of above average intelligence and desperate signs of being in distress.

Certainly, there is much more evidence of her disability than this test, but an analysis of her errors is quite telling. Sadly, by the time she may receive support, her self-confidence and behavior will likely be in the tank.

I have had limited success convincing parents who are in strongly emotional denial that their child has a disability. In my 49 years of teaching, I’ve noticed that even if they support appropriate interventions, it is hard for them to accept a special education label. And without that label, such students are not usually going to receive the help they need. Public schools receive funds for special ed teachers because those students qualify under state and federal guidelines.

What to do?

  • Wait. Many parents have accepted this ‘loss’ after a few more years of agonizing over it. Educational struggles truly are a matter of grieving for most families, especially for children on the autism spectrum. Sometimes parents admit to having similar struggles at school or refer to relatives with a similar profile.
  • Work to reduce stigmatization. The more we routinely show students and parents that everyone has learning differences, the less likely they are to freak out.
  • Provide info about and cool examples of brain-friendly teaching in back-to-school events and teacher conferences. Learning challenges are no fun but they are not the end of the world.
  • Don’t gloss over significant signs of struggle just because there is push- back from classroom teachers or parents. Collect data and do your best to provide the right kind of support, even if the label is incorrect (or, more ‘politically correct’).