Monday, June 19, 2017


Alright, let's do this. Let me set the record straight once and for all.

A learning difference/disability does NOT go away. Children with learning differences succeed when they are given the tools they need to be successful. Success means the tools are working. It does not mean the disability disappeared.

For four months E2 has been in daily (Mon-Fri) swim lessons. When I enrolled her, I explained to the swim company she had a language disorder and motor planning delays. These two general categories have a list of other issues that fall underneath and I explained them all. The swim club told me they could most definitely teach her to swim. AND THEY DID. The swim club assigned E2 instructors trained in special needs (there were two she switched between). The instructors worked daily on using the same exact words for the motor planning. The instructors used shortened instructions for multiple step directions. The instructors were patient when her anxiety took over and she panicked from not remembering the motor plan even though she had just done the exact stroke three minutes prior. The instructors understood how frustrated E2 becomes when she cannot answer a question because she does not understand what they are asking. The instructors had E2 perform the strokes outside the water while she repeatedly said the motor plan with them out loud.

With daily swim lessons, special needs trained instructors, and with accommodations E2 learned to swim. She went from barely blowing bubbles to swimming the length of the pool.

The above is why I was so fucking pissed off and shocked this morning. We arrived to the swim club to see E2's instructor, Ms. D,  in clothes. I asked her if she was sick and she explained she was working afternoons. I responded saying I did not realize we were switching back to Ms. T, the other teacher. Ms. D said we were not. E2 had been assigned to someone else.


I went to the front desk and firmly asked what was going on and then explained E2 is labeled in THEIR system as having special needs. The woman behind the front desk, who now looks annoyed and possibly terrified at my bugged out eyes and glare that could kill, turns to Ms. D and says, "But does she really still need the label?"


Before Ms. D can even respond I say, "I am so sorry YOU thought you could remove her label. That is not up to YOU. It is up to trained diagnosticians and therapists. It is up to me, her mother. It is not up to YOU to decide she no longer needs a label and accommodations."

With that, the manager came out and the class and teacher were switched and everything went back to normal.

In my head and to my friends, I used these words - Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME??? E2 succeeded and continues to succeed because we give her the damn accommodations! She fucking needs them!! She has a learning disability! Why the hell would I remove her label?? I am not afraid of labels. I am not afraid to admit my daughter needs help. E2 only feels different when she cannot accomplish something. She does not feel different when the help allows her to be "like everyone else." Fuck. Give the kid what she needs.

To the swim club, to parents, to school districts, here is my PSA:

Children with learning differences/disabilities do NOT outgrow them. They do NOT wake up one day and no longer have the issues. They learned compensation skills, they learned WITH accommodations, they accomplished their goals with all the tools we, their parents and educators, gave them.

When a child with special needs shows mastery of a skill it means HOW you are teaching them is working.
It does NOT mean they are no longer special needs.


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