“My Story…” Monday: A – Second Grade Math

(You can catch up on A’s story right here: The Pregnancy, The Birth, The Infancy, The Quiet Toddler, Advocating, What He COULD Do, Just A Boy, The (Hard) Next Step, Making a Friend, The Autism DiagnosisHe Talks, Hyperlexia, Your Baby Can Read, Another Evaluation, A New Kind of Special Need, Linear Algebra, The Triennial, The IQ Results, Bye, Bye Autism Diagnosis, Dr. C’s Plan)


We had been content making up challenging math problems for A. at home.  It was just one of those things we did, kind of like reading the entire Magic Treehouse series when he had barely started kindergarten.  Was it “typical” material for that age?  No.  But it worked for our family.  We did, however, realize that it was not the kind of thing he was going to be exposed to in the average public school classroom.  Since he was getting lots of other benefits from being in there, we were okay with providing the extra enrichment at home.


And then Dr. C. called me.


As I told you last week, she and A. had been asked to step into a classroom just to keep an eye on things while the teacher used the restroom.  When that teacher, Mrs. J., returned, she was to find my little guy standing up in front of her second grade classroom while they fired off math problems at him, trying to stump him.  To their, and his, delight, he happily solved them all.  Now, since A. had been walking around with Dr. C. (whose entire responsibility is to oversee the gifted and talented children in the schools of our district), I’m guessing Mrs. J. knew he was a bright enough little kid.  But she was was surprised and, I think, a little humored by his math abilities and how easily he meshed with her own students.  She gave Dr. C. some second grade math assessment sheets for A. to complete.  He did so, with no difficulty.

Dr. C, Mrs. J, and A’s kindergarten teacher all conferred.  They had an idea…


And so, when I answered the phone that day, I heard all about what had happened.  Dr. C’s voice positively sparkled with excitement as she told me about the “serendipity of it all!”


I, in my typical fashion, sat calmly at the phone, taking notes.  I listened.  I showed appropriate enthusiasm.  But, in the end, I said what I always say:  “Thanks so much for sharing this with me.  It sounds really promising, but let me think about it and talk with my husband, okay?”   I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating– it is SO important to me that my sweet A. has the most “normal” childhood that he can.  It would be way too easy to get caught up in some of the crazy things he’s able to do and forget that he’s still just a little boy.  The fact that he CAN read a book written for sixth graders?  Does not mean he should.  There’s a critical distinction there and it’s crucial to me that I keep it ever in mind.


Anyway, so that night I talked to my husband.  I told him the story of A and Mrs. J’s class.


“So they want him to start going to math with the second graders sometimes.”


We talked about it.  We asked A. about his day and watched him get so excited as he told about how they couldn’t stump him.  We considered the time with his true peer group that he’d miss.  We discussed how we’d handle it if he, for some reason, WAS too challenged by the material.  We laughed at how fortunate we were that A. is so tall; he was as tall as or taller than the majority of the second graders, too.  He didn’t look out of place.  We concurred that he would enjoy second grade math more than coloring and counting teddy bears…


So I emailed Dr. C. and told her:


It sounds great.  Let me know if there’s anything special we need to do.


And that next Tuesday, A. left the kindergarten room and joined a class two years his senior.  I waited anxiously for his bus.  I could’t wait to hear all about it…

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