For five years, John and I have been entering into our annual parent-teacher conference for Brayden with kind of a reluctant sheepish grin.... We have a pretty good idea what is going to be said, something along these lines....
"I really enjoy your son, he is so sweet and gets along so well with everyone"
"He comes up with great answers, which, forgive me for saying this, kind of surprises me as it really doesn't look like he's been paying attention"
"Yes, organization seems to be a struggle for him - maybe we can put together a weekly check-in sheet to help track things better"
.....and then there's the joint laughter about the pig pen usually surrounding his desk/work area.....
Last year all of these issues seemed to reach an all-time high - as I'd come in to class and watch him - and he seemed to be lost in space 75% of the time, constantly out of his seat, and papers strewn everywhere. It all culminated in this post....
So, after extensive research, interviews with other parents, and wisdom from our doctor, we took a course of action. I'd rather not go into public debate about it, but feel free to email me if you are really curious. We also "landed" a teacher that seemed to be the perfect ideal for what Brayden would best respond to. And, we've seen a turnaround. Literally, a 180.
And, with tears in my eyes right now, I praise God. I am so thankful that Brayden's true potential is finally being realized. Just as in kindergarten we were able to take steps to correct the incredible weak vision we never knew he struggled with, with corrective eyewear, we have now been able to tackle the issues within his brain that has sent conflicting signals- all sent simultaneously in a jumbled array- to start working the way his brain is supposed to.
We've seen the results at home, in class, and on the football field. But, nothing gives quite as much feedback as the conference does. The first words out of Mrs. Jakious' mouth were, "I know you were worried about Brayden's lack of focus or difficulty staying in his seat or staying on task, but I have seen absolutely none of that" (She'd previously sent us an email on her own initiative saying the same thing).
Then she showed us his self evaluation. And, sure enough, it still reflects the way he was conditioned to see himself. A rating of 3 out of 5 for "How well I take care of my belongings and materials" and the same score for "effort given on assignments, how neat and legible his work is, and how organized he is". Mrs. Jakious was really puzzled by these self-assessments, telling us she thought he was very hard on himself - and we had to tell her that he's never known anything different all these years - and that what she's seeing in Brayden is such a different student than what he was for five years.
And when I say different student, I mean just that. His personality hasn't altered one iota. He's still just as fun, silly, compassionate, and sensitive as always. It's as if now, he's just able to really listen, focus, and stay attentive.
Of course, there are still a few hiccups - but tiny ones now. He's doing just excellent and I feel no need to downplay that because he deserves the applause. Where as last year, the thought of sending off to middle school in the place he was at terrified me, these days I see his results and think, wow, this kid is pretty smart! And, it saddens me that so many things masked that conclusion fo as long as they have.....But, praise God for today - and the future ahead for him now.
(As a P.S. - Brayden and I had a pre-scheduled date last night watching "GI Joe Rise of the Cobra" at the Dollar Theater. We set off for our date right after the conferences, so the moods were extra high and jubilant. I love these times hanging with him - treasuring him. It was really a very good day all around!)