I’m so happy the play was a positive for experience for Buddha, he loved it! I, however, am upset about much of the process and hoping that by sharing my concerns we can avoid a situation like this in the future. How Buddha internalizes the events of his life and the people in authority around him will be a major component to how his confidence develops, and while I am trying desperately to teach him accountability, assertiveness, and trust, it’s harder to do that when he isn’t being given what he needs by the people who are supposed to be showing him the way.
I know this play was a bit stressful for you too and I totally understand it’s a new venture without a yet honed plan. I know we’re all figuring it out as we go. And I know that you see my kid for his strengths and his challenges. But, can you please make sure people who are dealing with him, especially those teaching him, know he has a medical condition and requires legit accommodations? I guess since he has a 504 and a one-to-one, I assumed that would be done and I admit I’m distressed that it wasn’t. I’m thrilled he was treated as one of the other kids, but the director had no idea of his challenges until I called him half way though the process to see how I could help at home, and he said, “Yeah, I can tell there’s something going on. What’s wrong?” Please understand the effect this had on me? I know you know how this attitude about and toward Buddha is exactly the opposite of what he needs, so I just want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I know not everyone is going to be the best, I know he needs to learn to handle hard and unfair situations, but this is second grade and it was the best part of his week! It wasn’t just a play it was an opportunity to build trust, to work a process, to socialize, to memorize, to be a real part of a community, to connect to his peers. This was a huge deal!
His accommodations not being taken seriously was upsetting in itself, but the real reason I’m writing it because of the night of the show. It was a second grade play, not a method acting lesson on how to be a real lost boy. Unfortunately, he knows that feeling all too well. As the performance was getting closer, I also wrote to the director and asked what I could do to ensure he didn’t let the class down after missing weeks because he was in the hospital and we were on spring break, and I was dismissed with a one sentence email, “we’ll see how he does.”. Then, I asked if I could watch dress rehearsal and was told I could “stay in the lobby”.
Then, exactly what I was afraid would happen, did. The night of the show Buddha didn’t know where to go during one of the songs and wandered around the stage totally lost and scared, while everyone else was singing a happy song in two cute lines. The look on his face was so clear, frightened, and lost! And the whole room was seeing it! It wasn’t a mistake he made, it was the process not accommodating his working memory and processing deficiencies. He was clearly capable, evidenced by his performance in the parts of the show we practiced at home, he is not an idiot! But, you know he is unique. Literally, someone could have given him a buddy and that look, that fear needn’t have ever happened. I put on shows. I have done this my whole life and I know things happen! I don’t expect him to not get lost, and I know other kids get lost too, but not like that!
I know this was a complicated experience for you too, but this was too important to let go. I just really want to ensure that people who deal with Buddha are aware of how capable he is while also being aware and careful because that he has very real needs. Needs that if not met, could dramatically hinder his chances of emotional and practical success in the world. This isn’t just about allowing him to be successful, it’s about building a foundation of competence and support so that he doesn’t spiral into self doubt, depression or worse, which you know is a very real possible path for him.
I’m grateful it was a positive learning opportunity for Buddha to work on being assertive and learn the value of practice! He loved being on that stage with his friends. He wants more of that so desperately…and it devastates me.
Thought you should know:(