Seated at the center of a half-circle desk, I try to adjust my posture to fit. This is impossible — I am sitting in a chair made to accommodate a 5-year-old. I am 5-foot-8, and my knees form a peak higher than the edge of the table. I don’t feel like myself at all. I have a head cold and I forgot to take medicine before leaving home.
The boy’s school smells of old cafeteria food, and I am overwhelmed with childhood memories of not knowing which lunch table to pick. I wonder silently if awkwardness is genetic? I decide that it must be and I know he gets it from me.
In attendance at the meeting are the boy’s teacher, an occupational therapist, the school’s psychologist, the school’s counselor and a few administrative people that wander in. Two people admit to seeing e-mails about the boy and the meeting, but they are turned away at the door. They don’t need to be there.
I am shocked by the loose communication practices and wonder about my privacy. I try not to let that bother me. I am too busy feeling outnumbered, and my confidence is shrinking. We start with introductions and I don’t shake hands but warn that I’m not feeling well. I secretly hope they will take it easy on me — I can’t explain why, but I feel like they are their own team.
We are here to finalize a 504 Plan. This is spurred by the boy’s teacher asking him to cease ticking/stimming in class. He is having trouble toileting, transitioning, following social rules, abiding by school policies concerning personal space and walking in line. If only I had sent him to school with one his special T-shirts on…you can read more about what this means for children with disabilities here. Continue reading