It’s that time of year again. The dreaded IEP, Individualized Educational Plan. On paper, it seems like a positive thing, measuring and setting goals to accomplish over the next year. But for an autism mom/dad, it’s not. To create these goals, you have to address every aspect of your child’s education and all the shortfalls that go with it. They are compared to where a child in their grade should be. For almost two hours, you get to discus, or rather be told, every deficit of your child’s learning, intelligence, and behavior. You start to feel the need to defend your baby, but for what end? You start to lose hope. After seeing all the negatives , your hope for the future has been injured. You are asked questions, some of which you can’t even begin to answer, but you try. You feel out of control, watching and listening to all the specialists discus studies you’ve never heard of, brainstorm ideas, some of which you do not like, and all the while you just feel like a spectator along for the ride.
These things break your heart. They make you look to the future and wonder what will become of your child? What life is there for him?
Every year I go home from these meetings, first in silent stupification, then no matter how hard I try, I cry.
I feel sick.
My baby. My God, my baby. Do you not see him? Why won’t you help?
My mind reels as I ask God multitudes of questions like this, with statements of anger dotted throughout. You have to cry…you have to let it out. He can handle it. I find the way to move past pain and strife is to be thankful. Thankful of the things you do have in life, no matter how little.
For the parents of a normal child… When your child brings home his/her report card with a bad grade on it, it’s understandable to be disappointed, frustrated, or even angry. But remember to be thankful that your child is able to be held to a standard that is normal for their age. I would love to see even an F if I knew that it was an F on a normal report card. Taylor, by requirements of the law, has to be given a report card based upon the expectations of a normal child. If you don’t like your child’s grades, imagine how I feel. At least your child has the ability to improve. My child could improve too, but he is a 5th grader whose goal is to count to 20 and draw a straight line. I think that puts it into perspective. Be thankful.
Today, I am mainly thankful that I only have to do this dreaded IEP once a year, and also that I have my husband to do life with. I will be okay. This funk will pass. For now, I will sit in the swing enjoying the sun and choose to think of better things, and force myself to see a positive future where Taylor beats the odds 🙂 !
As always, positive comments are welcome. Negative hurtful comments will be trashed before I can even finish reading them. I have many readers who are emotionally vulnerable, and I will not post comments that will further harm.
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