The family is settling into their new home in Austin. Robert finds a new job doing what he had previously done at Barnes and Nobles when they lived in Detroit. Schuyler is settled into a new school with a special education teacher that seems to be doing the best she can and consulting with the parents.
We are starting to learn more about Schuyler as a person- her likes and dislikes. As a speech therapist, I also observed Robert listing things she can do: names people in her family, say “no”, and has a few signs. He also seems to be talking less about what she can’t do. The family seems to be accepting Schuyler’s disability at some level.
In the final scene of this chapter, Schuyler is running around the grocery and a woman cruelly comments about Schuyler’s behavior. Robert and this woman get in a verbal altercation. Robert tries to explain to the woman that Schuyler has a disability. The woman says, “If she can’t behave like a normal kid, then she shouldn’t be out in public with the rest of us. Maybe you should have her institutionalized if she can’t do any better than that.”
I was surprised at Robert’s reaction to this woman’s comments. He confronts her and directly asks for an apology. I think it took a lot of strength to confront this woman. Robert has struggled (rightfully so) to find answers to his daughter’s “monster” and to deal with it himself. Confronting this woman was in a way Robert confronting his doubts and denials. I think he also realizes at this point that Schuyler’s struggles will be a lifelong endeavor. Some of her struggles will be due to her own disability, but many will be due to other people’s lack of understanding of her disability.
–Darcy Lanham, SLP at Goldsmith Elementary