You put your left leg in, left leg out

Zak has grown by three centimetres. Roisin measured him and confirmed it. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it might be because he’d spiked his hair. He’d gelled it especially for his day long assessment with the local education authority. They will decide whether he has a special educational need.

Zak had not made a good start to the day. He’d yawned, slumped and completely tuned out of his time in the classroom. The only time he spoke, was to ask me how much a small horse is. I shrugged and told him to pay attention. He was oblivious to the examiner behind us, surreptitiously making notes. She, incidentally, didn’t know either.

After the lesson, I said goodbye to him at the school gates and crossed my fingers. Without him, I found the rest of the day quite liberating. I didn’t have to check his every move in the playground (three near fights in three days, for the statisticians among you) or have to leave my school dinner to turn cold, when he’d walk out of the canteen.

I completed a report on Zak for the assessor and struggled to find that many positives. “The most important thing” observed one of my fellow teaching assistants, “is that you like him”. It’s true, I do. He is polite, respectful and good to be around, but this is only in seclusion.

At the end of the day, Roisin passed me a letter. It contained a list of things such as ‘can tie shoe laces’ ‘recognise own body parts’ ‘hop on either foot’ and ‘march in time to a beat’. Initially I thought the test was for me. “Can I tip toe along a line and then stand on my left leg for 20 seconds?” I thought “well, I’ll give it a go”. They were, in fact, tests for Zak’s motor co-ordination. I expect we will have fun with this next week. Apparently he gets an extra mark if he can stop a small horse’s heart just by staring at it.


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