Only a fraction of what I would like to say, if I could actually say everything that’s on my mind.
Dear Ms. First Grade Teacher,
I’m sure you are aware, but I’m writing in regards to the fact that my son forgot his Take-Home folder at school yet again yesterday. I agree with you that independence is something we should encourage the first graders to have. Unfortunately, I think you can see as well as I can that its just not working for my son. Last year, he may have forgotten his folder at school once all year long. This year, I’ve already stopped counting as it has happened all too often. Clearly the step from Kindergarten to 1st grade responsibility was just a bit too large for him. Simple reminders on a daily basis are doing little to nothing to help him establish a routine. Perhaps you would like to wait and see if he is able to improve, but I am done waiting. I wish you could see as well as I do that its going to take something more for him. I do understand, however, that it is not as clear to you as it has taken me 6 years to see it in my own child. He needs things to be different.
His brain works a little differently than most kids. He isn’t often motivated by things like reward charts or by sheer desire to please adults. That excitement and enthusiasm we’ve seen in him can turn into overload. It can obscure his ability to carry out routine tasks. He is not always able to filter out extra sensory information. It is for this reason that he is easily distracted. His excitement becomes a problem when other children are allowed to bring personal belongings such as Pokemon cards to school and share them with him. This simple gesture by his friend creates just enough excitement that he can completely forget to take his folder out for the day. Perhaps you haven’t noticed this, but I can assure you that it is happening. My son came home everyday last week with one or two new Pokemon cards. Besides working to eliminate the presence of Pokemon cards in your classroom, I do not have any concrete suggestions for you at this time.
I am aware that there are other children in your class who have challenging personalities and that they are far more disruptive to the class than my son is. Obviously, this makes your job more difficult, but it does not make my son’s needs less important. I am certain we will speak about this matter again soon, and I hope that I have more suggestions for you at that time.