Chapter 3 discusses how Melody figured out that she was different just a little at a time and the anger and frustration that came with those realizations. She talks about the sadness she saw in others, especially her mom and dad, as they came to terms with her perceived limitations. She expresses gratitude towards her father and her caregiver who lives next door, because they always spoke to her and treated her with a level of respect that others often didn’t. Melody is highly intelligent but is unable to convey that to others due to limited communication which is a result of her physical disability. She becomes angry because she can’t effectively communicate but it is seen as a tantrum and her attempt at communication is overlooked. As I read this chapter, I thought back to the many students I have had over the past 12 years of my career who appeared to have only pre-intentional communication. Could I have possibly missed underlying skills in a child similar to Melody? How often do others in our schools overlook communicative attempts in the students we serve, and what could we do to minimalize it?
Chapter 4 opens with Melody discussing her experience with a doctor who was performing intelligence testing since she was approaching school age and her mother was looking at enrollment options. She recounts her frustration at the tasks presented to her by the doctor most of which, did not take her physical limitations or other answer options into account. She was completely aware of the moment he began to give up on her. His perception was that Melody was severely limited but it was actually HIS limitations that didn’t allow him to see how incredibly intelligent she really was. Her mother knew better and fought for her daughter tirelessly. This chapter reminded me of a quote from Albert Einstein that says “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid”. How often do we see kids who are not accommodated properly and what can we do to help? Are we making sure that physical limitations do not negatively impact our communication assessments? What can we do to make sure we are seeing a child’s abilities from all possible angles?