What Holmes Said to Watson
Sherlock Holmes said to Watson, "you see but you do not observe." Watson was chagrined, to say the least, to hear this pronouncement, but Holmes did have a point. Many medical practitioners and special education educators presume they know more than a child's parent. They will feign humility, "you are the parent, you know best," and then proceed to tell you how, no, they really know better. It's offensive. It's disrespectful. it's maddening. In all likelihood, most parents will not question what a school psychologist or a principal says to them. I myself have done my share of shrugging off my intuition even when it's screaming at me, because, well, why would the principal, for instance, lead me astray?
I should have insisted on having Kid O transferred from her first school to her second school when she was five. The principal persuaded me to have her stay a third year even though that didn't feel right to me. "Her next teacher has raised her own special needs kids." There are special needs kids and then there are special needs kids. This woman raised two kids with a congenital disease, which, if you didn't know them, these kids would come across as "normal". This teacher had no idea how to teach Kid O or how to really communicate with me.
As the year dragged on, my heart sank deeper and deeper. Became increasingly clear to me that the teacher, principal and educational psychologist were intent on labeling Kid O as severely to profoundly mentally handicapped, although, at the time, i didn't really understand that was what they were doing. What I did understand that it didn't matter what they saw, they would find a way to dismiss it or deny any observations to the contrary. When my husband and I presented them and the rest of the staff with a video showing Kid O taking yoga instruction, we were told that this evidence was inconclusive. And, over the years, any evidence that might negate the original diagnosis of severely to profoundly handicapped would be squashed. Any pleas I might have to really look into Kid O eyes and see the intelligence there would routinely be dismissed as coming from a desperate mother who was simply in denial. Anyone who really knows Kid O has been able to observe her intelligence, her focus, her tenacity, and, above all, her wicked sense of humor. But no friends, family or outside therapists have opinions that count for anything, and so, with few exceptions, Kid O has had very little in the way of an actual education.