Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jackie Robinson...only shorter and paler

It was a big day in the life of our dysfluent little baseball lover today. Third grade at our school includes a big Famous Americans unit. The culmination of this unit is for each student to pick a "famous American", then research that person and do a five-minute presentation for the class and parents. It's a VERY. BIG. DEAL. The kids come in costume, their presentation must be memorized and it has to include props.So, it's a very big deal for most kids. But you have to understand that this is my kid. The one who stutters...sometimes severely. When we started this project, his ability to speak was so poor that he struggled just to read the words from the page, even though his reading skills are just fine. His teacher wasn't initially so willing to cut him any slack with the time limit. So, I've been kinda stressed.

Generally speaking, I don't consider my kid disabled. I don't consider him "differently abled". He's just a kid who happens to stutter. And until now, it didn't seem to make a whole lot of difference to him.

I talked to his stuttering specialist and she's been seeing him twice as often since we started this project. I talked to the speech therapist at school who got the teacher to cave just a little...tell him he had no time limit and put him last in the day so she'd have more leeway on that.

We worked on memorizing places to use his "speech tools" in addition to memorizing all those words. We all worked hard. Smunch wasn't always thrilled with all the practicing. I wasn't thrilled either. We practiced while I worked out, we practiced in the car, we practiced with sound effects, with props, with projection, with a nice slow pace. We practiced and practiced. I think I had it almost as well memorized as he did.Today was the big day. And #42? He may have left out a line here and a word there, but he never needed prompting, he was one of the few kids you could understand. He was engaging and the kids laughed at his singing coffee can. Not once did they laugh at the way he spoke.I didn't cry. But it's not because he wasn't awesome.

No comments: