The Healing Horse, Ch. 17, Scene 6: Evaluation

Photo of Lady Bird Johnson in red skirt suit

This scene continues the upbeat tone of the chapter. Young Karen is thirteen and full of life. More importantly, she is learning to advocate for herself.

[Image of Lady Bird Johnson by Robert Knudsen, White House Press Office (WHPO), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Scene 6: Evaluation

Mama put her arm around Karen’s shoulder as they stood outside the PT room door. “Deep breath, my Krana Layala. We can do this.”

Karen hugged her back and breathed deeply before pulling open the heavy door with her strong right hand. “After you, Mama.”

She followed her mother into the room, and the atmosphere differed completely from the morning clinic. Dr. Lambert was missing, and so were the experts who had been there to watch his performance in the morning. Somehow, the room looked like it had more light in it. She took another deep breath. Maybe she could relax now.

Principal Stephanie Sinclair paused from rearranging the chairs. “Katie and Karen! it’s good to see you both.”

Her voice was always soothing; completely different from Lambert’s high-pitched whine. She straightened her red skirt suit jacket and patted her bouffant into place. With her heavy eye makeup, she looked like Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, but dressed like Lady Bird Johnson.

Mama held out her hand to shake. “Let us help with the chairs, Principal Sinclair.”

“This isn’t a formal meeting. You can call me Stephie like always. And thank you.”

Karen smiled as the two women hugged, and then she helped them move the chairs into a circle.

They sat down with Karen and Mama next to the principal, so they were included in the group, not a passive audience listening to experts. Miss Kimiko, Karen’s Occupational Therapist, came in with Karen’s classroom teacher, and the physical therapist who had replaced Mrs. Pinzetti followed them. They all sat down.

Principal Stephie held up a piece of lined notebook paper. “Dr. Lambert was called away, so he won’t be joining us. His notes say Karen’s gate has improved dramatically. Her back is much straighter. But we already knew that.”

She nodded to the two therapists. “He recommends continuing her therapies.”

Miss Kimiko smiled and clapped her hands. “My little kitten. I love working with her.”

“And he says dancing won’t hurt her, so why don’t we write that into the IEP? I hear Karen put on quite the performance for him.”

“Yes!” Karen said with a grin.

“And that’s it for Dr. Lambert.” Principal Stephie tucked the paper into her notebook and rolled her eyes. “Now, what else?” She looked at Karen.

“English and History are hard for me. Could I get tutoring?”

“Yes. I can try to arrange that.”

Karen looked up at Principal Stephie, and then at her mother. She realized the adults in the circle were smiling at her. They were all on her side. She beamed.

Principal Stephie wrote in her notebook and stood up. “Between the tutoring and your determination to learn, you will make great progress. The meeting is done, and you have a new IEP.”

Original text ©2023 by Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.

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