I could hear the catch in my throat as I told the woman she was wrong. That rejecting Pudding’s application for admission was a mistake, for them as much as for us. It really was us and them, no matter how she tried to tell us this was in our best interests- not giving Pudding a chance is wrong.
Pudding had gone through a battery of tests for this school. The first day of the tests as soon as she woke up, I knew she was ill. I also knew we wouldn’t get a second chance. I would just have to hope she would shine through. But when Pudding is ill, everything is too much, and a strange place with unfamiliar people and questions she didn’t feel like answering were beyond her comfort. The following week she was feeling better, and performed as required, but the decision had already been made against her.
And instead of just denying entry, we had to sit, again, and listen to Pudding’s autistic traits used against her as reasons why she shouldn’t be included. Once again, this is a remedial school. A place that is supposed to welcome and support students who need a little extra help. But the doors are closed to us.
I tried to distract myself from feeling hurt over the weekend. Hurt isn’t a good emotion for me. I mope and feel sorry for myself without doing anything. Doing nothing does…well, nothing for Pudding.
“You can’t exactly blend in when you were born to stand apart.”
I quickly downloaded the book, and laughed, cried and cheered on the protagonist through his journey. It is a work of fiction, of course, but at its heart is a message that held me up this weekend.
It doesn’t matter how nice the campus, how well-equipped the school, the size of the classrooms, or how expensive the admissions process- the only thing that matters is that we find a place that embraces Pudding’s differences. Not accepts…not tolerates…but truly acknowledges the wonder of our child. Because then, and only then will she show them how right they are about her.