Friday, February 3, 2017

The Offering

"We brought donuts," the parents said as they joined the special education eligibility committee in the conference room. What followed was a tense discussion about psychological and educational testing as well as teacher, parent, counselor, and self-observation rating scales about their 11-year-old son. We struggled to interpret the data as accurately as we could to best support this student: He was definitely in the clinically significant range for ADHD, but not quite on the autism spectrum. He had an outside diagnosis of conduct disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, but did his school behavior rise to the level of an emotional disability? Even though we were all on the same side, the conversation was fraught.

In the end, we settled on the most certain identification knowing that the committee could be reconvened at any time. It was quiet in the room as the legal documents made their way around the conference table where in the center, sat a box of a dozen had-rolled, small batch gourmet donuts sat untouched.

In general? I am not a donut eater; they have a lot of calories, and I'm a calorie counter. But then I looked at the parents. They seemed overwhelmed and drained.

"Let's dig into those donuts!" I suggested.

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