Out of My Mind Chapters 7, 8 and 9

In Chapter 7 Melody talks about the different teachers she has had over the years in elementary school. She remembers her 2nd grade teacher fondly because the teacher took the time to figure out Melody’s level of intelligence and challenge her by giving her books on tape. Her third grade teacher didn’t have high expectations for Melody or her classmates and taught the alphabet and played nursery rhymes regardless of how inappropriate it was. One day Melody couldn’t take it anymore and had one of her “tornado” fits. When Melody’s Mom came to the school I love how she put the teacher in her place. She knew her child and was an advocate for her. I love how she compared it to “If I have to sit in this traffic jam one more time I’m going to scream.” I think we have all been there at some point- but we are able to shout out “come on” at the car in front of us. Melody has this feeling but is “trapped” with these words and feelings inside her brain but no way to get them out.

Chapter 8 was one of the most interesting chapters for me. How Melody basically compares her life of not being able to talk or walk to the life of her pet goldfish who is stuck swimming in the bowl was so profound. And the fact that she even said she felt sorry for the fish because he had it worse than she did. The moment when the Mom came in and said “What have you done, don’t you know fish need water to survive” hit home for me as well. The mom automatically assumed that Melody had tried to knock the bowl over instead of trying to save the fish. It made me think of the times when maybe I’ve assumed something from my own children who weren’t able to tell me otherwise.

In Chapter 9 we find out that Melody’s Mom is pregnant, Melody gets a dog and we have a glimpse of Melody’s sisters early childhood. Is anyone else consistently amazed at how mature Melody is? She has every reason in the world to have self-pity but she doesn’t. I think that has a lot to do with Mrs. V. She pushed her and had high expectations for Melody as a child so Melody learned to have high expectations for herself. I feel like as a SLP in the schools we could totally be someone’s Mrs. V!

–Sarah Crady



8 thoughts on “Out of My Mind Chapters 7, 8 and 9

  1. Laura Woodring says:

    Empathy is a powerful tool in our work- I reflect to times when my mind filled in the blanks and I made assumptions about a student’s motivation or intention. How often have we heard a teacher say “He’s just lazy.” This book is reminding me to always seek to understand behaviors, and examine what they are really communicating.

  2. Dala Sparks says:

    well written Sarah – It is so true we could be Mrs. V. to some of our students AND their parents. The burden of care on Melody’s parents has been portrayed throughout the book and intensifies a bit with the arrival of her sister. Mrs. V is a nice reminder of what it feels like to have someone who believes in you, but as a parent – she is someone who believes in their child – that maybe even more influential. Trying to be mindful of the parents of our students and the communication and family challenges they face at home is so important and often times lost in the shuffle.

  3. Aimee Burton says:

    These chapters remind me of all the times I’ve seen children who are non-verbal sitting off to the side or in the back while other verbal children are participating more fully in a classroom lesson. We can provide all the necessary materials/equipment for a child to participate but it doesn’t mean it will be utilized. I think that’s one of the most frustrating aspects of this job.

  4. Pam Schmit says:

    I was so glad to hear her second grade teacher let her listen to books on tape that were appropriate for her age. She cannot communicate how much she likes and needs to listen to age appropriate books. We do need to be mindful of finding appropriate materials for our low functioning students.
    I am also struck by her maturity. I am thinking about her wanting that McDonalds hamburger and being unable to communicate that. She just really did not get to have choices in her life.

  5. Lindsey Ludwig says:

    Can I just say that I wanted to high five Melody’s mom when she stood up to that teacher? And, I wanted to give the dog a treat for taking such great care of Melody.

    I agree with Sarah, that the chapter with the goldfish was an eye-opener and heart breaker for me. Poor Melody used every means she could think of to help the fish, and the frustration level she had to have experienced is unimaginable to me.

    And yes, Aimee, I agree that it’s extremely frustrating to work with some of these nonverbal kids, provide them with communication tools and devices, then see little to no carryover. Maybe we should recommend some of the books we’ve read recently-this one and The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night Time-to some of our MSD and ECE colleagues.

  6. Karen Reynolds says:

    When we learn of Melody’s mom being called to school because she was having a meltdown, it broke my heart thinking of the frustration that happens when people can’t communicate effectively. It also reminded me that children need someone to advocate for them. In chapter 8 when she said she’d make a wish to be able to sing and dance, it reminded me of how we take for granted the simple things we can do. In chapter 9, it broke my heart when she worried that the new baby might end up like her. With the arrival of Penny, life completely changes for Melody. I am excited to learn of the positive effects this will have on Melody. I am rooting for someone to implement an effective communication system for her.

  7. Jecel Goyala says:

    Regardless of whether we are the teacher, the aide, or the SLP, each of us has a significant impact on a child. Working with these children, is a more of a responsibility than a mere job. I agree with you Laura, EMPATHY is a powerful tool, which means providing love and nurturance.

  8. I have read this book before, many years ago, so this time I decided to read it aloud with my 9 year old. He is not the most empathetic child in the world, and often forgets the blessings that he has in his life. He is loving the book and asking questions about students with disabilities. It has been a great eye opener for him.
    But having read this for the second time, the same thing bothers me… where is the mention on the SLP? Someone made her a communication board, though it may be limited.

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