Upsetting First Parent Teacher Conference

Tom and I were very excited about our first parent-teacher conference at TJ’s nursery school. I was able to get us in at 8:15, so neither of us were too late for work.

Miss Maureen and Miss Sandy were there to talk to us. They said that TJ is a very sweet boy, and a pleasure to have in class. He’s made a lot of progress since the beginning of the year when it comes to staying seated until everyone finishes snack, staying in line when they go outside, and things like that. Sometimes, when the teachers tell the class to do something, like get their jackets, he doesn’t seem to think it applies to him because he thinks it would be fun to do something else, but they’re helping to redirect him.

TJ likes playing by himself. He’s very good one on one, but this whole idea of being part of a group is still tricky for him. When looking at books, he knows his colors, shapes, and numbers. He recognizes his name. But he gravitates toward certain toys (like an egg beater) enough that Miss Maureen has taken to hiding them before he comes in, to encourage him to play with other things, but he’ll dig through the whole toy box to find them – so she needs to tell him they’re being cleaned, or they’re broken, etc.

We already knew how easily TJ gets frustrated. When he gets frustrated, he is unable to use his words to express himself. He has trouble processing his feelings. It’s enough of a concern that the teachers want him to be evaluated.

When Miss Maureen was talking about it, Tom and I understood. If there are some areas in which he could use some extra help, then we want to get him the extra help as early as possible.

It started sounding scarier when she said things like, “he’ll be able to stay right here because we have an intergrated classroom.” Integrated? I know it’s great that they have special ed teachers and speech therapists that work in the classroom, but it’s kinda scary to think that he might otherwise need to be in another class.

Even so, Tom and I were feeling okay about everything when we finished talking with Miss Maureen about how much TJ loves school, how affectionate he is, and how he is a model for other kids in some aspects. She gave us directions for setting up his evaluation, which only required going outside and walking around to the other side of the building.

That’s when it got really scary.

The first thing the receptionist asked us was whether or not we’d called the school district yet.

I had to call the school district. The school district has to know that my son is being evaluated. He hasn’t even started kindergarten, and he could be labeled before it begins.

If TJ needs help, then I want him to get it. I am not going to love him any less, whatever the outcome of this evaluation. But it kills me that he may end up with a label that people are going to judge him by throughout the course of his education.

I’ll know more on November 13.

Christina Gleason (975 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I'm a multiply disabled autistic woman doing my best in this world built for abled people. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including Twitch Sings and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead.


  1. This issue really hits home. I have a boy who was just diagnosed with special needs this spring. We have been going through assessments and IEP meetings and advocacy training. My head has been in a whirlwind. That’s one son. And on another occasion, my other boy’s preschool teacher suggested he should be evaluated by “search and serve”, which I believe is under the school district. We held off on that, because he had been doing better at another school. We switched his school in order to save money, but he does better at the Montessori, so now he is back there. We are crossing our fingers that he will do OK with his behavior, sensitivities, and crying fits when he goes to public school next fall for first grade. Or he will be evaluated then. I totally understand wanting to get your son the help he needs, yet wanting to avoid labeling him. My older boy’s situation has been greatly helped by his diagnosis. So trust your instincts. Nobody knows your son better than you and his father. I have blogged at length about my special ed experiences in meetings, etc, if you wish to read, here is the blog addy: Good luck.

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