I was just writing a lengthy email to Thorny Tree Lady (I can't link you to her blog anymore because she went private!) and in that email I was telling her about Aly. It made me realize that I need to tell Aly how proud I am of her on how hard she has been working in school.
But first a little background: When Aly was in 6th grade she was diagnosed with Non-Verbal Learning Disability. (Click on the link and read the home page. You'll understand almost exactly what her early childhood was like...) We got her into speech therapy immediately and also got her a 504 Plan at the school. (Idaho doesn't recognize NLD as a real learning disability, so she didn't qualify for an IEP. A 504 Plan just gives her certain allowances for her classes like extra time on tests, the opportunity to redo failed home work, etc.) We also pulled her out of public school for her 7th grade year and did an online home school in an effort to bring her up to grade level. She started 8th grade back in public school and on par with the other 8th graders. It was a great move for her!
She did okay in Jr. High but when High School started, she really took off. Of course, she had the extra incentive of a cell phone to motivate her... if she doesn't maintain a 3.0 GPA, she loses the phone. She has worked very hard and has kept her GPA above a 3.3.
Here's my "Happy Mommy Moment:" Today was Parent Teacher Conference. We went to her math teacher and told her who we were (yes, Calvin is one of the rare dads that likes to go to PTC!! Cool, eh?) When we said we were Aly's parents, the teacher got so excited and said, "OH!! I LOVE HAVING ALY IN MY CLASS!! SHE IS SO MUCH FUN AND SUCH A GREAT KID!!" (We have always thought that, but it's kind of nice having someone outside of the home reaffirm that.)
The teacher started to rant and rave about Aly and what great work she does in class. I had to look at the class schedule I had in my hand. I thought surely we weren't talking to the math teacher. Math (and art) have always, I mean always been Aly's worst subject. But we really were talking to her math teacher. It made me wonder if we were talking about the same Aly.... we were!!
I cleared my throat and said to the teacher, "Do you understand what this means to me? Aly doesn't do math. She struggles and has to exert a huge amount of effort to understand the concepts." The teacher truly looked surprised. She was unaware of the 504 (LONG story... I'll just say the school administration messed up) and didn't know about the learning disability. She went on to elaborate that Aly is unafraid to speak up in class and to do work on the board in front of the class and that she ALWAYS GETS THE ANSWERS RIGHT. That brought me to tears. We always knew that Aly was smart enough to do it, but it just came differently to her.
And now look at her shine!! The fact that she is willing to do the work in front of her peers is simply amazing to me.
I felt stupid for crying in front of the math teacher. But, if I had the opportunity to spend more time with her, I'm sure it wouldn't be the last time I cried in front of her. Cuz I just cry... all the time. (No, I'm no depressed!)
Anyway.... I just want to tell Aly that I'm very proud of you, Sweetie. You have risen above a trial that Heavenly Father gave you and you didn't let it drag you down. Your hard work and dedication has inspired me. You are a wonderful example to your brother. And this proves what we have told you all along -- YOU CAN DO ANYTHING IF YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO IT!!
(Now turn off my blog and start reading a book.)