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Smiley Face

posted Thursday September 17th, 2009

sophie spell

Last night, the girls and I sat at the dining room table to do homework. Annabelle had some fancy-schmancy assignment involving decorating her spelling words (some nights it’s drawing them in a shape of pyramid or making them blocks), so once Sophie finished reading her little book, I took her spelling words off the fridge, handed her a pen and paper, and told her to write them. Just once.

It took a while.

Sophie delighted in drawing each letter carefully, drawing big circles over every “i”.

“You know,” I told her, “sometimes it’s really fun to put a smiley face inside your i.”

Without missing a beat, the pen left the paper — headed for her eyeball.

Annabelle burst out laughing and sucked wind at the same time. I grabbed the pen and looked Sophie in the (luckily still-unmarked) eye and asked, “You didn’t really think that’s what I meant, did you?”

She just smiled.

Inside, I was sad. Of her many challenges, the greatest might be Sophie’s handwriting. We got through five words last night and that filled the page (I know I should have lined paper, though it wouldn’t have made much of a difference). She tries hard, but it’s tough. You can see it in the picture. We need to make some big decisions about how to proceed: Should Sophie learn to keyboard, which might be easier for her but would set her apart from the class? Should she be receiving more occupational therapy for writing? Are there other remedies? Or should I not be so concerned?

These questions need to be answered, and soon. That’s why I was so frustrated this week with the special education teacher. Sophie’s IEP requires that after the first month of school, a meeting of her entire team (teacher, therapists, special ed instructors) be held to assess how she’s doing. Writing will certainly be at the top of the list — if we ever do have that freaking meeting.

I know the beginning of the school year is a crazy time, so I held back from asking about the meeting. I wanted to see what would happen. By last week (five weeks into the year – and experience tells me it will take at least two weeks to schedule this meeting)  I was not pleased. So when the principal stopped me to ask my opinion about something unrelated, I mentioned that the meeting hadn’t been scheduled.

I had a call from the special ed teacher that afternoon. But when we finally did communicate a few days later, she suggested we ask each therapist to simply send a note home about Sophie’s progress.

The guilt bug bit, but not hard enough for me to agree. I wanted to say okay — it is a lot of work to gather everyone — but again, experience teaches me that the group needs to sit down in person so we can share news about

Sophie’s progress and problems, and brainstorm solutions.

A meeting’s in the works, I’m told. Meanwhile, October looms. I’m beginning to worry about second grade. And now I have a new concern — that my daughter will try to draw a smiley face on her eyeball, at my behest.

Good thing I didn’t tell her to make her “i” into a daisy.

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Tags: Filed under: first grade by Amysilverman

4 Responses to “Smiley Face”

  1. I think she is doing much better than you think. I really do.

  2. I think she’s doing great. Handwriting is a challenge but it does come eventually!

  3. This is Joyce. Catching up here with my two cents. By far the two most difficult things for Sarah over the years, counting money and writing. I would suggest you add keyboarding but don’t totally loose the writing. The pen also makes a big difference. We learned to use a felt tip marker as pressure is not required just movement. We also had that written into the IEP so they also only used marker at school.

  4. thank you joyce! i already mentioned this to sophie’s teacher who got that “why didn’t i think of that?!” look on her face.

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