Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Stranger Danger

Lucky for us (and Jennica), our school staff finds my special needs daughter to be an endless source of amusement.  I'm sure there are staff members that don't think her antics are cute, but the staff members that we have contact with are wonderfully supportive of her differences, and claim to find both humor and inspiration with her different view of the world. 

Yesterday was the dreaded annual IEP meeting.  (Its only our second, and I really have no reason to dread them, but I do.)  I wasn't expecting any surprises, as we've been in constant contact with the school since the first day of the year.  So far, things have been going remarkably well!  I feel like I'm jinxing myself to actually put those words down in black-and-white, but pther than a few moderately heinous occurrences, the first month of first grade has been a rousing success.

Most of our contact with the school is through email, or by one-to-one contact with her teacher, para-educator, or principal.  I don't usually see them all in one place at one time.  So yesterday, as we sat down around the IEP table together, they informed me that they had been holding onto a "funny story" for a few weeks, as they wanted to see my face as they shared this.  My Mom brain immediately said, "Oh NO!  What did Jennica do now?"

The story goes like this:  About two weeks ago, Jennica had a para-educator substitute for two days.  She wasn't prepared for a substitute, and was less than delighted upon arriving at school and finding out that her routine, as she saw it, was disrupted.  Worse yet......her substitute was a 26-year-old MAN.  She's never had a male teacher (yet), and wasn't thrilled with the idea.  She was introduced to him politely, and instantly told him rudely, "I don't like you.  Go away!  I don't need you and I will be fine today without a helper." 

Her rudeness is something we've been working on, but when she sees it as being honest, its a difficult battle.  Miss Cummings, her first grade teacher, immediately pulled her aside and told her that she needed to apologize to Mr. Stark for being rude.

Jen promptly told her, in a whisper, "I can't talk to him anymore." 

When Miss Cummings asked why she couldn't talk to him, Jen told her, still in a whisper, "Because he's a stranger and I can't talk to strangers."

Miss Cummings, bless her heart, introduced them yet again and then told Jennica that they weren't strangers anymore.  Jen still refused to talk to him most of the day.  This.......for a girl who doesn't generally consider ANYONE to be a stranger.  How convenient of her to pull this out of her "bag of tricks" at this optimal moment.  Oy.

But, I will admit, its pretty funny!  :)

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