I attended my first IEP meeting for this school year for wild man a few weeks ago. As a mom I want the best for my kids. I want them to have a great education and be able to succeed. As a mom of an autistic child I want these things and so much more.
The meeting went well. His new teacher, OT, speech director, principal and his teacher from last year all love him. Which makes me feel like we made the right decision on the School. We went over his daily schedule and how we could make it better for him. This year he will have his major subjects in a regular classroom while his afternoons will be spent in the classroom equipment for special needs (this is the classroom which make us choose the school in the first place). Change is hard for him but I want what’s best for him.
The meeting was filled with comments like “he is doing so great” “he is working so hard” and “he has come a long way”. All of which made me smile because he is doing great and working hard. And he has come a long way, a very long way. It’s in these moments that I get lost and almost forgot he is autistic. Everyone bragging on him and telling funny stories about things he has done. I love seeing other people’s faces when they talk about him. They just light up he has that effect on people once they take time to get to know him.
But then there comes the reality. Take this work page for example. He scored a 3 out of 10. I know placing him in the regular classroom is supposed to help him build social skills and help him become more independent. But he is so lost when it comes to the actual school work. I don’t want him to be overlooked or just passed through because of his disabilities. I want him to have a chance to learn and to grow just like any mother would. I know many of you are thinking “it’s just one paper or he is just in 1st grade” but that’s my point. This is just the beginning. What happens now and how he is treated will affect the way things go from here on out. He does not bring many graded papers home but when he does most notes are “he tried hard” At what point will he become completely lost and what nothing to do with School? Will he always be this happy go lucky boy or will the struggles become to much for him the bear? I worry because it’s my job to make sure he receives the best possible education he can receive. I worry that the other kids will start calling him names or talking about him because he does not get the answers right. I worry constantly about how his peers receive him.
But then my son does the most wonderful thing. As I look at all the X’s on his papers and the comments my son, my beautiful intelligent son points at the papers and says “look momma I got this one right” and smiles great big. Even in a world full of negativity and large red and green X’s my son only sees the good, he only sees the beauty. As his mom I worry about him in this crazy world we live in. People are so cruel to each other and I am scared that the things that make him unique in Gods eyes will get him teased or even hurt in this world. But God has given my son a unique way of looking at things. He only sees the good in people and in things. He does not notice those that stare at him or say hurtful things about him. I am truly thankful for that. As his mom I need to try and see the world the way he sees it. I need to find the good.
So yes we celebrate the three right answers, because a year or two ago none of this would have even been possible. We celebrate that he can now write his name and that his teacher said he is now sitting at his desk up to three minutes at a time. (This is huge for him) We celebrate that he has even sat at the dinner table with us a few times this month and we were able to have dinner as a family(and this is huge for him). We celebrate the red and green X’s because they show us progress. He is moving forward in all areas of his life. We celebrate because God has made this prefect little guy ours and we are the ones that get to watch him grow and succeed at life.
We celebrate because we are blessed.
Thank you wild man for opening my eyes to more than just the negative. Thank you for helping me see there is beauty in everything, even in X’s.