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Challenge: Kids with Special Needs

Dear Coach

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Dear Coach,

First, I want to thank you for your interest and dedication to coaching our youth. I certainly lack the credentials needed to take on such a commitment. When we were young athletes all we could hope for was improvement. Now as adults in a coaching role, the goal is still the same – to perform better than yesterday - not only in sports but in all areas of life.

Coach, I watch from the sidelines each game and observe your increasing frustration with my young athlete. Instead of sitting attentively, clinging to your every word, he is watching his brother play trucks on the other side of the fence. I heard you yell at him to, “pay attention,” and it took everything in me to bite my tongue. I saw the look you gave your assistant coach when my son should have made that play but was playing in the dirt instead.

I’m going to show my son that you deserve to be respected even if I personally don’t always agree with how you handle the situation. I’m tackling my half of the responsibility by supporting you on and off the field. Now, I sit quietly and wait for you to complete your half of the responsibility by respecting me. Maybe if we took an extra minute after practice to talk about my son it would have saved everyone some anguish this season.

During this imaginary discussion you would have learned that I am aware of my son’s struggles. You would have also learned that he was evaluated by professionals not once, not twice, but three times. You would have also learned that he is not a candidate for medication, as he has other health issues, and attends weekly counseling sessions. You would have learned that every single day is a struggle to get him to do the exact same things you expect of him. He can’t do it, YET. But guess what? Every day I see small improvements and that is all I can ask for at this time.

When it comes to raising kids everyone says, “It takes a village,” and Coach, this includes you. Please understand even though all kids match when they have their uniform on, every single kid on that bench is different. Please get to know the children and families. I may not be able to teach my child this sport, but I have a lot to offer. You are an important adult in my son’s life. The way you treat him will be remembered long after he decides he doesn’t want to play this sport any longer.

Thank you for your time and hopefully we will see you next season.

Sincerely,

Mom of #15

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