Advice to Professionals

PARENTING | Nov. 3, 2020

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A Note from the Principal:

As we are nearing time for our parent/teacher conferences I am reminded of the words of a parent who has become a very near and dear friend.  My friend’s words help me each day remember how to approach the work, the interactions with parents, that are so important, no matter what the student’s ability:


Advice to Professional Who Must “Conference Cases” by Janice Fialka,


Before the case conference, I looked at my almost 5-year old son

            and saw a golden-haired boy

                        Who giggled at this baby sister’s attempts to clap her hands.

                        Who charmed adults by his spontaneous hugs and hellos.

                        Who often became a legend in places visited because of his exquisite ability

                                    to befriend a few special souls.

                        Who often wanted to play “peace marches” and who at the age of four went

                                    to the Detroit Public Library requesting a book on

                                    Martin Luther King.

After the case conference, I looked at my almost five-year-old-son,

            He seemed to have lost his golden hair.

I saw only words plastered on his face, words that drowned us in fear.

Words like:

            Primary Expressive Speech and Language Disorder

            Severe Visual Motor Delay

            Sensory Integration Dysfunction

            Fine and Gross Motor Delay

            Developmental Dyspraxia and RITALIN now.

I want my son back.  That’s all.

I want him back now.  Then I’ll get on with my life.

If you could see my worry, feel my sadness,

            then you would be moved to return

            our almost five-year-old-son

            who sparkles in sunlight despite his faulty neurons.

Please give us back our son, undamaged and untouched by your labels,

            test results, descriptions and categories.

If you can’t, if you truly cannot give us back our son, then just be with us

            quietly and softly.

Sit with us as our witness and our friend.

Please do not give us advice, suggestions, comparisons or another appointment.

            (That is for later.)

We want only a quiet shoulder upon which to rest our heads.

If you cannot give us back our sweet dream, then comfort us

            through this evening.

Hold us.  Rock us until morning light creeps in.

Then we will rise and begin the work of a new day.

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