October 9, 2009

They call me "Water Girl"

Anyone who has had a child in high school knows these years can be brutal. I know this because we also have a senior and a freshman. However, I had hoped my 16 year old daughter with down syndrome, would escape some of the nasties of high school life. As much as I hoped – I know this is not real life.

I guess this is good and bad. Sometimes, I wish Alex would get special treatment, but I also know she should not. In my mind she is just like every other kid in high school - just a little different. The current issue - she is not mature enough to handle the usual high school shenanigans.

I picked Alex up the other day after football practice and could not find her at the usual place. I have to admit I was not concerned as the school was filled with activites and there a lots of safe places for her to go. When I did eventually find her she told me she did not go to football practice.

"They call me water girl"  was her response when I asked about missing practice.

I was not sure exactly what this meant, but I knew that a dinner bribe would work. We went out to dinner and Alex explained to me that the football boys have taken to calling her "water girl". Apparently, she finds this offensive and asked the boys to stop - but when she asked they kept saying "what" to her. She became very upset and decided she was not going to football practice ever again.

This is a particularly tough situation for Alex - and we work on self advocating a lot. We spent the dinner talking about how if the boys were not listening to her she should talk to the coach, to see if he could help. We decided that would be her plan for the next day. I was not quite sure if she would be able to implement it, but had high hopes.

As an aside - I started this entry before Lucy left us - and did not finish. I would have signed off with the hope that Alex was successful. However, as there is a silver lining in every cloud - there is a good ending to this story.

When I picked Alex up the next day from pratice (for those of you keeping track - this was an extra practice - tonight is the Homecoming game!!) she was at the appointed place and smiling. I asked her how football practice went and she said "fine". Turns out - she spoke to the coach and he explained to the players that it was not nice to call Alex "water girl". It stopped, Alex is happy and self advocacy worked.

If only everything was so simple!

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