Dear Teacher,

When my big kid was in K4, our dog actually DID eat his homework.  It was a graphing or patterning lesson using candy hearts or jelly beans, and what dog could resist?  Not ours certainly.  It was a fun story to tell his teacher, and we all laughed.  If I had to guess, I would suggest that we are the one family in a million who can say with veracity that the dog was in fact to blame.  That was a cute email to write.  This one wasn’t:

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been putting off writing this email for a few days, but it’s important that you all have the medical information we received this week.  Our son has been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.  It’s been quite a lot for my husband and me to take in, and we are still a little numb, but we know that it’s important for school to be aware of it.  We have known all his life that he’s clumsy, and have over-attributed that to a few things, including his enormous height.  MD is in his family history, so it made sense to pursue, and actually explains a lot about his coordination and activity levels.  We haven’t been given a specific subtype diagnosis yet, so I can’t provide you with any prognosis.  He is aware of the diagnosis, and says he feels OK—he doesn’t have a before/after dividing line.  Please don’t treat him differently than you would have yesterday.

I’m sending this to Ms. B, Mr. B and Mr. M since you are the people most in need of being made aware right now.  But I’m not there in 5th grade with him, so please share this with his teachers who need this information.   In the short term, nothing changes for him.  He does not need any special accommodations or preferences.  We’ve been told there is nothing he can’t do in terms of school expectations.  He doesn’t get a “pass” on anything just yet.  What we learned at the neurologist that he hadn’t talked much about at home, is that he gets tired easily and sometimes he hurts when he has to stand too long.  He still should participate in phy ed as much as he did before.  When the time comes that he needs to do less, it may be that he does less or needs more time.  I guess we will address those needs as they become apparent.

My work number is below and my cell is XXX-XXXX if you have any questions.  I’m very new to this, but am the in-house expert on my kid.  Thanks for all you do for him and his brother already!

And here’s what they wrote back:

I can’t tell you how sorry I am.  He is such a great kid.  Really, Wendy, I don’t even know what to say.  Just know if there’s anything we can do for him or your family, please don’t hesitate to ask.  Take care and give him an extra hug from me – I think he’d be pretty embarrassed if I tried to hug him 😉

Thank you for this information; he has not let on and I have not noticed any change in school other than he seemed slightly down. I think the world of him and would like to support him and your family any way I can. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

Dear Wendy and Family, 

I am so sorry for what you are going through in your lives with his diagnosis. You have my heartfelt sympathy.

Please be assured here at school that we will do anything we can to comfort him and you through this difficult time of uncertainty.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me and let me know what I can do for him and your mental health as well.  As a parent I cannot imagine how hard this is for you.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

At a time in educational/political history that teachers in the US seem unbearably overwhelmed and underappreciated, these three terrific educators took the time to express their genuine concern and offer comfort.  My son’s teachers and school will take care of him, of us.  I’m overwhelmed, and any ability I have to convey my appreciation won’t be enough.  Thank you will have to do.  Thank you. 






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