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To My Daughter's General Education Teacher

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The first day of school is approaching and my stomach is already in knots.

My emotions have reached a new level of worry. My daughter is 6 years old, she’s eager and excited to start her new journey in your class. She attended a preschool for kids with disabilities for three years so she knows a little of what to expect.

By now, you’ve probably read a lot on information about her. Her medical chart may be a little scary and any teacher could be alarmed by reading it. She was diagnosed at the age of 2 with cerebral palsy, she has global developmental delays. Her speech is two to three years behind. She has ADHD and a neurological muscle disorder called generalized dystonia caused by a rare genetic mutation that is unpredictable to progressive future symptoms, and yet, there she sits, in your general education class.

She has spent countless hours in therapy to close the gap of her developmental delays. Despite that, not all areas of concern has been met, yet! Regardless of what the development charts say, she’s ready and about to step out into the world.

My fears are realistic because I’m her mother, so telling me not to worry is like telling me I don’t need air to breath. As her teacher, you might think you’ve done this a time or two before and you got this. That may be true. I know your highly qualified, but might I just say, you haven’t done it before with my child.

At some point throughout the school year, your confidence may fade, you may question my judgment as to why I decided to put my child in your class instead of special education. I hope you can try to understand I have many reasons for this. I know there may be moments where it seems like it’s not working. I know there may be times you feel as though you can’t do this. You may feel like you’re failing this sweet girl and you don’t know how to help her more. I know this may happen because I have felt it, too.

What I need you to know is that all this medical terminology is just that. They are just words that don’t describe or define who she is, or her abilities now or in the future. She has overcome odds and made strides like a warrior. She has done so mostly because she’s determined, but also because she has had a great team. A team that knows when to push her and also knows when to soften the moment. Not once has she been told she can’t do something or has ever been made to feel that she will not accomplish a goal.

So from the depths of my soul, I ask you to please be on board with that, to please join our powerful team of encouragement. I ask you to put down her oversized folder and view her with fresh eyes. With an open mind and excepting heart. To just trust in the power of possibilities.

Getty image Lisitsa

Originally published: August 10, 2018
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