Into Sophie’s World: School

apraxiakids2“He is always right on time.”

Today I had my very first ever phone call from the school principal. Fortunately, it was not a case of my child having done something wrong. But Sophie has been having a really hard time adjusting to school. Her initial joy over returning to school has been squelched by a boy who likes to throw things. Because Sophie is nonverbal, it took me two weeks to learn what was troubling her. Each day when I picked up her from her classroom, she was sobbing. I figured she was struggling with the transition to school. Finally, after this had gone on for two weeks, her teacher happened to mention that there’s this little boy in the class who likes to throw everything. He’s just playing, but it’s pretty destructive and definitely not the way that the toys were intended to be played with.

I’m a little hung up on the two week time frame here. The parent of a verbal child would probably have known the first day that the child was afraid of another student. It took me two weeks of trauma to figure this out. I don’t fault the teacher or the school. It takes time to make these connections when the child can’t pinpoint for any adult what is upsetting her, and when upset over a new school year is quiet normal. I am thankful the connection was finally made.

Being the proactive parents that we are, we began to talk to Sophie about this problem at school and how she could handle the situation other than becoming extremely afraid and upset. We tried to incorporate some appropriate throwing into our play. We prayed about the issue. My concern grew when I talked to Sophie Tuesday morning before taking her to school. I asked her, “What are you going to do if this little boy starts throwing toys again?” With the most clarity that she has ever used to express her emotions, she pointed to herself and signed “cry.” I was thankful for the clarity of expression, but saddened that she was still terrified to go to school. When I picked her up that afternoon, she was sobbing.

I again asked her teacher how things were going, not because I want to be that helicopter mom who is always into all the business, but because my child literally can’t tell me how things are going. Had her teacher not said something, I may never have pieced together, out of context, the reality that she was afraid of a boy in her class who threw things. She reiterated that they were still working with the boy, meanwhile trying to console Sophie. It’s a tough situation, to be sure.

Yesterday after school I posted a prayer request, specifically about this little guy, for my Facebook friends. One of my friends from church wrote: “Such a big thing for her sweet little spirit. Praying God calms the situation. He is always right on time.” Those last words stuck out to me… He’s always right on time. I have known this to be true many times. What was God doing in this situation? After today, I marvel at that comment and the timing of these events.

Today I spent much time in prayer and resolved that if I had not seen an improvement in a month of school (because transitions for Sophie do take time) that I would seek action with the school.

Today the principal called me. Today she offered to switch Sophie to another class. This was certainly something that I had considered, but I figured that I would have to initiate that discussion and that I might be met with resistance because other classes were full. I had resolved to wait, giving the situation into God’s control. And today he swayed the principal’s heart to look at Sophie’s situation and call me. She listened to my concerns and identified as a parent. Sophie is not the one acting out, yet it feels as if she is being punished by being moved. She will have to start over with her transition. Yet, I would rather choose this a thousand times than have her deal with that little throwing boy for one more day. Since moving him is not an option (something about throwing off the distribution of “neediness” in the classrooms – the teacher in me gets this), I am willing to give this a try.

I’m often struck by the timeliness with which God answers prayers. How many times have I prayed about something and the very next day an expected or more often unexpected answer presents itself. He is truly faithful. And he truly is always right on time. Thank you, dear friend, for that important reminder. Give your burdens to God. Look for his answers. Trust in his plan as you surrender your worries to him. Even if it takes much longer than a day, he is always right on time.

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