Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Praise Often, Complain Less

Everyone has their reasons to complain. I do it also. I complain about people, programs and events. However, I have made it a personal policy to thank and praise publicly. Here is a letter I wrote about the school psychologist who recently coordinated a re-evaluation for Ben:

Recently, our fourth grader, Ben McCall, underwent a re-evaluation for services. Sarah C. was the school psychologist coordinating the evaluation. I had never met Sarah before my first appointment with her to go over the process. Our last meeting was this past Friday and after almost three months of information swapping, meetings and email conversation, I feel that she is an ally for our son and most definitely a prized employee to the school system.

Right from the beginning Sarah was interested in hearing about Ben – at home, in school and out in the community. Although she gave us many forms to complete, she allowed me to share stories that demonstrated Ben’s abilities. She read my blog to find out more about Ben’s life. Sarah did all the expected things – visited him in class, talked with teachers and therapists, but she also went far beyond the call of duty.

At the same time that this re-evaluation was happening, Ben was being tested privately by a neuropsychologist. The tests being used would be helpful to Sarah’s report on Ben, and she could easily have received them from me. Instead, she attended the feedback meeting with this doctor. She was able to hear everything first-hand, ask questions and learn more about Ben.
If that was not enough, Sarah made a home visit to see Ben interact with his two brothers. She knew from my reports verbally and from reading my blog that Ben had a strong relationship with his brothers. That visit paid off in many ways – Ben gave Sarah a big hug when he saw her the next time in the classroom.

Ben is an unusual child with special needs – he does not have a specific diagnosis and he does not fit into any category. It is hard to define him, and if you use a paper and pencil test and quick observations, you will not do him justice. You will miss out, in turn, dismissing him and his great abilities.

Sarah clearly did not do this with Ben. We were blessed to have someone compassionate like her take the time and energy to delve deeper. Ben will benefit a long time from her work.

Don't forget the people in your life that are special. 

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