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Embracing Shifted Expectations

Embracing Shifted Expectations

I heard an exciting piece of news this holiday season.  

A friend's daughter, who is severely dyslexic, has been accepted to (the highly competitive) Queen's University undergraduate program.

While being accepted into one's university of choice is exciting - I remember my own shriek of excitement when my mom gave me the news over the phone while I was away on a Spring break trip - I relished in the excitement of having to shift my expectations of what was possible for dyslexic kids.

For not only is she dyslexic, she is really dyslexic and has only been educated in an independent school designed specifically to meet the needs of students with language based learning differences.  

I remember a walk on the beach with her and her mom when she was about 11 or 12.  Their family had just returned from a European holiday and her mom and I were talking about how amazing it would be to pick up our families and live elsewhere in the world for a year. 

The conversation meandered to how other families were managing their kids' education while on sabbatical years.  

We had friends who had moved to a small village in France for the year and had enrolled their kids in the local French public school.  Another family we knew were on the move and had taken home schooling supplies with them. 

As we wondered and walked, discussing the pros and cons of each option and brainstormed ways around them, my friend's daughter piped up and said, "But I couldn't do that.  I couldn't go to a school that's not my school.  I couldn't do school like regular kids".

My heart bursts and swells so much as I remember that story.  For now, not only is she going to be attending school like 'regular kids', she will be studying at one of the most sought after and highly respected universities in Canada.  As a peer.

I'm grateful for her, grateful for the school hat has brought her here and grateful for the realization that I was carrying a fixed mindset for what educational opportunities were possible for Sam.  Realizing that at such a young age I already had fixed in my mind expectations for each of my children.  Expectations that were different. 

I'm grateful for the shift and for the reminder to stay open to shifts in possibility.

When I congratulated my friend's daughter on her achievement, she said, with a twinkle in her eye and a determined look on her face, "Thanks.  I'm just waiting to hear about getting into (the even more competitive!) Queen's Commerce program".