Where is the bar?


The holidays are over and tomorrow school goes back. I’m so relieved.

I’ve had two weeks of torturous assaults on my eardrums as Claudia fires off commands and comments to me without pause for breath and in ever increasing volumes until I engage.

She’s relentless. She’s loud. She’s repetitive. It’s really annoying.

So tonight I’m raising a glass to the teachers and teacher aids who get to spend each school day with her.

And here’s especially to the eternally cheerful and optimistic language they use to describe my repetitive, loud, demanding child.

Her end-of-term report had us snortling into our pinot with their kind and creative descriptions of how she is.

The bar can be pretty low when it comes to people like Claudia.

The aims on her report are not complex – for example ;

‘Goal 1 : Claudia will use simple (2-3 word) sentences when asked questions about her day with 60% success”

We were weak with laughter as we read

Claudia initiates conversations by repeating single words to a variety of staff throughout the day”

That makes it sound almost tolerable and kindly glosses over the chainsaw-like reality of the relentless repetition.

iPad! iPad! iPad! iPad iPad! iPad! iPad! iPad!” iPad!” We know what it’s like.

Before leaving school Claudia has started to wander the halls to say goodbye to her peers and staff before leaving school”

Bye!” “Bye!” “Bye!” “Bye! “Bye!” “Bye!” “Bye!” –

-we can so imagine the trail of loud as she “wanders the halls” firing off her single word like the assault weapon she is.

Claudia enjoys discussing her and her peer’s timetables throughout the day”

Claudia has always been interested in the time and the date and the day and what might be happening. She’s beside herself as any given month ends and the calendar needs changing

Ahh!” (as she points) “Change Over!”

In the car she’ll suddenly shriek from the back seat

Ahh! What time is it?” as she points to the digital clock, which will invariably say something fifty nine. In other words she knows that after 59 the whole hour changes and that’s worth pointing out. Loudly.

She shamelessly rifles through other people’s diaries looking for interesting events or things to note.

It’s the same with calendars, whiteboards, lists, the mail.

So it’s no surprise to know she enjoys checking out everyone’s timetables each day.

And bless them for framing it as if she’s discussing it when we know that she’ll just be barking out what she finds.

Claudia will use a simple sentence to as for her iPad during free choice time”

I’m sure it’s a very simple sentence – ‘iPad! Ipad! Ipad! Ipad! Ipad!”

– over and over again.

Now she’s 17 and a senior there are “outings” into the community.

Each Wednesday there’s an outing to a cafe – which Claudia mentions a lot in her weekly run down of what’s going on – indicating she enjoys it.

During these experiences Claudia makes choices about what she wants by looking at the food on display, pointing and using simple sentences with support”

Gosh these teachers are lovely! In reality this will look like Claudia tapping her grubby fingers on the display case and shouting “lolly cake!” or “soss roll!” until it’s on the plate.

another activity Claudia enjoys and talks about throughout the week is the class weekly swimming session”

She does talk about it all week – she does that here too – reminding me she needs her togs.

Claudia also enjoys the opportunity to have conversations with other staff and students during the swimming session”

I feel for those staff and students, looking forward to a gentle waft in their rings down the lazy river but instead encountering Claudia shouting things at them from her ring – all amplified, as things are in an indoor pool environment.

All there together bobbing about. With Claudia. Being loud in the water.

Apparently Claudia participates in cooking by putting on her apron, she enjoys the discos at school, she enjoys walks of “varying length”, she “chooses to participate by watching through the hall windows”.

So much carefully worded and so much positivity.

So cheers to you lovely teachers and teacher aids, who find the kindest and most creative ways to describe our children. We appreciate your tact. We salute your creativity. We drink to your health.

When the bar is low you manage to make the bar a relevant, funny and great place to be.

So cheers and thank you.


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