Yesterday my oldest graduated from 8th Grade. The middle school did this very nice,
and chill ceremony. I have been seeing and commenting on many posts of children graduating from Kindergarten, 5th Grade, 8th Grace, and of course, High School. (I don’t have many friends with kids in college yet, so at least I still feel somewhat hip and young lol). All of these graduations got me thinking about those children and teenagers with an FASD, or any disability or academic struggles. I think instead of using the words “You Graduated” which has been used for years and years, maybe we start saying, “You Succeeded!” Or, “You are a success!”
grad·u·ate– successfully complete an academic degree, course of training, or high school; a person who has successfully completed a course of study or training, especially a person who has been awarded an undergraduate academic degree.
suc·ceed: achieve the desired aim or result.
suc·cess: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
I know to some of those reading this I may come across as one of those that believes everyone should get a trophy, and that there are no winners or losers. I am not one who believes that.
I just started thinking how the word graduate is so much more objective, with boxes to check, and numbers to meet. Succeed is subjective, the definition of success looks different for everyone. For those of us with an FASD or a disability, success for one person may look like running out of a classroom 2 times a week instead of 5 because of impulsivity, while being able to follow 2 step directions 70% of the time is the definition of success for another. So while a child may not check all the boxes to “graduate,” Many children, if not all, succeed. I went to Graduate School for Speech Therapy, and they failed me. I didnt have a diagnosis at the time. They tested me for a learning disability and told me something was off but couldn’t decipher what it was. I don’t think anything would have changed if I had a diagnosis though. They probably would have failed me anyway. They never tried to help me with my report writing. They never helped me understand how to teach children speech and how to adapt to their needs. I asked for help, but I myself wasn’t sure how I would learn successfully. Looking back, I definitely succeeded,although I didn’t graduate. I succeeded in the classroom setting in rote memorization of upper body anatomy. So, I consider myself a success at graduate school. Some components of it anyway. I think success can be, and is met at every level of schooling for those with a disability. Success looks different for everyone, and that is a beautiful thing. So my friends, take a look at your child and their schooling. Ok, maybe they will not graduate as defined by the school, but they damn well succeeded, and that counts for so much! Sometimes it counts more than graduating. So children and teens, go forward and succeed. YOU GOT THIS.