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Advice to Professionals Who Must "Conference Cases"
by Janice Fialka
Micah's Mom

Before the case conference,
I would look at my almost five-year-old son
And see a golden haired boy
Who giggled at his baby sisters attempts to clap her hands;
Who charmed adults by his spontaneous hugs and hellos;
Who captured his parents with his rapture with music and
His care for white-haired people who walked a walk
A bit slower than younger folks;
Who often became a legend in places visited because of his
Exquisite ability to befriend a few special souls;
Who often wanted to play peace marches
And who, at the age of four,
Went to the Detroit Public Library
Requesting a book on Martin Luther King.

After the case conference,
I looked at my almost five-year-old son.
He seemed to have lost his golden hair.
I saw only words plastered on his face,
Words that drowned us in fear and revolting nausea,
Words like:
Primary Expressive Speech and Language Disorder,
Severe Visual Motor Delay,
Sensory Integration Dysfunction,
Fine and Gross Motor Delay,
Developmental Dyspraxia and RITALIN now.

I want me son back. Thats all.
I want him back now. Then Ill get on with my life.

If you could see the depth of this wrenching pain ...
If you could see the depth of our sadness ...
Then you would be moved to return
Our almost five-year-old son
Who sparkles in sunlight despite his faulty neurons.

Please give me back my son
Undamaged and untouched by your labels, test results,
Descriptions and categories.

If you can't, if you truly cannot give us back our son
Then just be with us quietly,
Gently and compassionately as we feel.
Sit patiently and attentively as we grieve and feel powerless.
Sit with us and create a stillness
Known only in small, empty chapels at sundown.
Be there with us
As our witness and as our friend.

Please do not give us advice, suggestions, comparisons or
Another appointment. (That is for later.)
We want only a quiet shoulder upon which to rest our
Now-too-heavy heads.

If you cannot give us back our sweet dream
Then comfort us through this evening.
Hold us. Rock us until morning light creeps in.
Then we will rise and begin the work of a new day.


1997 Janice Fialka

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