Only one day left of second grade. A few days ago, I had a conference with Lilia’s teacher. We talked about how she had become adept at counting on her fingers, and how she can now add and subtract triple digit numbers quickly and accurately. We also talked about her inability to memorize the multiplication table, and how this will make long division in third grade very difficult. We talked about how at ease and independent she is in her wheelchair, and how wonderful that she can go to the bathroom at school by herself. We also talked about how she rarely uses her legs at school even though many therapists have told me that she looks like a kid who will stand and walk one day. We talked about how she has not been able to learn how to speak, but she can understand a lot through lip-reading and listening. We talked about how she can now recognize some written words and can now write some simple sentencesby herself, and also about the fact that the third grade Japanese textbook will be too hard for her to read. Her teacher suggested that she study Japanese with the first graders. It sounds more practical than pretending that she can keep up, while she gets in way over her head, but the girl has pride.
I know that her cerebral palsy makes her different from other deaf kids, in ways that I’m still trying to figure out. I feel like I’m standing on a divide – on one side, are teachers giving up, and the other is the shiny future I can give her if I push harder. Or maybe it’s mostly up to Lilia and she will find her own way.