Joy and Pain


It started with the orthodontist.  My daughter’s monthly appointment was changed from Monday to Thursday, so I found myself re-shuffling my schedule for the day and an afternoon kiddo was moved to late morning.  No problem.

Except that it was.

When I arrived, the tutor corner was occupied.  The library was full.  So I moved into the large aftercare room.  I finished up with one child, and went to grab another.  In the meantime, a reading group moved into a corner of the same room.

My student took one look into the room and literally froze.

“I’m not going in there.”

I was momentarily surprised.  This is a child with a big personality and very self-assured, at least in therapy.  But I recovered quickly, left her outside, swept my materials into my bag and rejoined her.

“Where to?” I asked.  We checked the tutor corner.  Still occupied.  Library, still full.  We settled for two cozy arm chairs in a wide hallway.  And life was good, until we approached the hour (she was scheduled to be with me until 12:10) and a small group passed us.  Then a class.

I watched my sunny, enthusiastic girl wilt.  Had she been a chameleon, she would have immediately turned an unbecoming brown twill shade.

It’s not the first time I’ve experienced this, but it’s up there as one of the worst.  While most everyone is delighted to join me in the confines of my typically enclosed space, few want the notoriety of being seen with me in public (and I’m mom to two teens so I can read the “walk 20 ft. in front of me” body language).  And I’m an equal opportunity offender—embarrassing whether your goals are language, articulation or fluency.

It’s disheartening, but I get it.  Even some of the kindergarteners want to be “same.”  Truthfully, this came up a lot less when I saw severely involved kiddos.  The closer they are to average, the more they seem to want to blend.  (Ditto anyone third grade or older.)

Clearly, I need to work more on self-esteem and shame issues with my sweet girl, but I’m also going to be brainstorming ways to seem less “special” next year….or I could invest in a trench coat, fedora and fake moustache.

I’m open to ideas.  Anyone else struggling with this issue?



This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Kathy Reynolds

    Can friends be included? As in today you get to go too? Attitude is everything, how vested is the classroom teacher?
    I am sure you have already thought of this….

    1. admin

      Kathy, teachers are vested, but since I’m at private schools I have a lot less leeway in terms of bringing a friend, etc (billing/insurance issues for one). I appreciate your taking the time to respond–thank you! Kim

  2. Sharon S.

    Not that I don’t have this problem, but becoming more visible to all the kids in the classroom seems to help. Volunteering to read in the class, “popping in” to talk to the teacher, reading the morning announcements, etc may be helpful….

    1. admin

      I think you’ve hit on one of my biggest issues. Now that my own children are in middle school and now that I see students in other schools as well, I’m not in any one place enough to be more of a fixture. I like some of your “pop in” ideas and I’m looking to make some bigger changes in the fall. Thanks, Kim

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The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.