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Who Says Special Treatment’s a Bad Thing?

My daughter Natalie, who has ADHD, may need special treatment at school, but sometimes she wants it too!

Every fall comes the time when parents of children with special needs have to break in a new set of teachers — prepping them on the best ways to accommodate our kids’ learning styles. The vast majority of the teachers I’ve encountered have been sincerely interested in learning how best to help my daughter, Natalie, deal with her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, sensory issues, and academic struggles. The many variations of “I’ll do anything I can to help her” that I’ve heard are always music to this mom’s ears.

In addition to the teachers at school, Natalie has a new teacher for religious education each year. Yesterday, before the second class of the year, her new teacher and I exchanged e-mails.

Back at home after class, I asked Natalie how things had gone.

“My teacher asked me if I wanted to walk around a little. Just me, no one else,” she said. “How does she know about me?”

“I e-mailed her,” I said.

“What did you tell her?”

“That you’re from Russia,” I said. “And I suggested a few ways that she might help you feel comfortable in class.”

“Like that you hate to watch movies and that it might help you to move around once in a while,” I said, searching for some innocuous examples.

“You should tell my regular teachers that stuff,” Nat said.

“Your regular teachers already know a lot about you,” I said. “And remember you and I met with them and told them things about you? Is there something else you think they need to know?”

Natalie thought for a moment.

“That I like chocolate … and candy!” Nat said, with a sly smile.

I guess needing “special” treatment isn’t always so bad! Talk about being handed a lemon and making lemonade (or brownies or cookies).

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