What the Report Card for My Child With Special Needs Doesn’t Say


I don’t like report card day. Why? Because it doesn’t show a complete picture of my child. It reminds me of an IEP meeting where all the therapists focus on the challenges my child may face. “But what about all she has learned?” I want to scream. Report cards are like that to me. They don’t say how hard she works daily, processing and understanding everything thrown at her. They don’t tell me the hours a week she spends in therapy. They don’t tell me the incredible amount of passion she shows for school, for learning, for her friends, and for life in general.

Report cards do not tell about the many afternoons she spends at the kitchen table working on writing her letters, sight words and numbers. That piece of paper leaves out that last year she barely spoke and now she speaks in small sentences and can repeat most words and sounds she hears when she is able to focus and hear clearly. 

I really wish that piece of paper told of her laughter and creative spirit that leads to many dance shows in my living room in costumes of all types.

I know in my head report cards are important to see growth in a unified way, but my heart hurts every time I pull it out of her folder. But tonight, I will remind myself that paper is not who my child is — she is so much more.

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