I was reminded today of a story about this boy of mine. This boy has always marched to his own drum, and has an uncanny ability to see through people's sugar-coated sh*t. It's a humorous quality, especially when you get to watch the varied reactions.
And that's the look he gave the psychologist oh-so-many years ago during his preschool screening. I took him for screening when he was about 3. I was still teaching at the time, his brother was in kindergarten, and even though I knew it was an exercise in early labeling, I was still compliant with mainstream educational expectations back then. I don't recall most of the screening techniques, though I'm sure it was the usual round of eye exams, hearing exams, fine-motor control exercises, etc.
Things were going along swimmingly, when the woman asked him to stack a set of five blocks. He shook his head no. No fuss, he just didn't particularly feel like stacking blocks, apparently. The woman persisted. "I'll do it first. Like this, see? Now you do it!"
The woman wasn't particularly offensive, just sweetly coercive. But he stood his ground. There would be no stacking-of-the-blocks today. Not from THIS 3 year old, anyhow. I offered, "If it means anything, I know he can stack blocks." But she wanted him to do it.
After a few more attempts, she gave up and moved on. (Who knows what got marked on his file.) She finished the rest of the screening and left for a moment to retrieve some paperwork. I took the opportunity to look around and observe the myriad other toddler responses to the screening - some crying, their moms red-faced; others stacking blocks like good little future sheep.
When the woman finally returned, there, on the table, was a perfectly stacked pile of blocks. Jonathan was looking away, as nonchalant as ever. "Oh! You stacked the blocks! That's great!"
He never flinched. He never looked at her.
He never went to school.