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How I've Come to View Report Card Day as a Special Needs Mom

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Four times per year. The thought of her education is never far from my mind, but that looming day brings it all back to the forefront. I know it is coming every nine weeks. The brown envelope in her school folder, just waiting to be opened and read with anticipation of how the past nine weeks have progressed.

Our daughter is in fifth grade and is 11 years old, but developmentally, she is at a 6-year-old’s level. She is in her fifth grade classroom 30 percent of the day and in special education classes 70 percent of the day. She has Sanfilippo syndrome. She is able to learn gradually, and each skill, word and memory is an accomplishment we work hard to maintain.

We are so fortunate that her teachers see the big picture. They have formed bonds with her and have learned how to motivate and encourage her so she has academic successes. We are kept informed about her progress more closely throughout the school year due to her individualized education program (IEP). She tries her hardest and enjoys school. She feels successful in her schoolwork, and that is the most important thing for us as her parents.

As I open her backpack, the same as I do every afternoon, I see her looking at me. I don’t think she knows what the folder represents. She’s not aware that some children have their privileges taken away because of what is inside that folder.

I open the folder and read the report card. Everything looks perfect. No big grade surprises, no excessive absences. I give my daughter a big hug and tell her how proud of her I am. I am so happy she is healthy enough to still attend school. She is able to speak to me and tell me what she wants and if she is hurting. She is able to laugh, smile and play with her little sister. She is such a joyful little girl, just as she should be.

What more could I ask for? Today, life is good.

woman girl sitting on floor reading
Wendy and her daughter reading a book.

Follow this journey on Abby Grace Foundation.

The Mighty is asking the following: Share with us an unexpected moment with a teacher, parent or student during your (or your loved one’s) school year. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: February 3, 2016
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