Little Man’s IEP evaluation results meeting was this morning, at 7:30am. Oy. I was awake at 5:35. I knew the results already, as I received the reports and a phone call from the school psych yesterday. I had time to read through the reports – and get my tears out – during the Princess’ Nutcracker rehearsal last night. I was able to write down my questions, and my thoughts as far as goals and accommodations.
I was still terrified this morning, walking into that room. I love our school. I really do. I love ALL of the teachers and staff there. They are simply awesome. But I was afraid. This has been a battle for the past two years, and believe me, I understand why. I was afraid, despite his level of intervention this year, they still wouldn’t see what he so desperately needs, that he isn’t just his brain and academic test results. And we were prepared to consider home schooling or other school options if need be.
I had no need to fear. Everything I wanted happened without me fighting. No 504 needed. Everything will be handled under his IEP. The speech and language IEP from last year will be absorbed into this new IEP, with the primary diagnosis being the autism umbrella. It’s sad to see that in writing, but the label, while often difficult, opens so many doors to get him the services he needs. So his team has grown, immensely. But they are going to help my precious boy. They see he has needs as far as his whole educational process, not just academics. I felt my shoulders lower down from ear level. I felt the tightness in my chest loosen a bit.
It was a long meeting. It was draining. Hearing what every day is like for him at school was heartbreaking. No child should have to struggle that much every single day. They asked me what my main goal is for him with services and accommodations. I told them, honestly, my main goal is to not have to watch my little boy mentally put on his armor walking into school and gear himself up to get through the day. I don’t want other kids afraid to say anything to him for fear of him lashing out or crying. I want him to not have to carry around a large, fluorescent orange stuffed shark to help calm him when the slightest thing doesn’t go his way or when a loud noise interrupts the day. I apologized for speaking from my mother’s heart. But that’s what I want for him.
His autism doesn’t need to be cured. But he does need to learn strategies to successfully negotiate the classroom, school itself, and social interactions in general. They are going to help him. I can’t ask for more.
We are going to see how he does with the plan. He’s aware we were “asking for help” for him. He knows something is coming down the pike. He is doing so much better than he was a few weeks ago, and infinitely better than a couple of months ago. I know there is no “fixing him,” but there is “helping him” and that’s what’s going to happen.
I’m so thankful – for the team for listening, for caring about my boy; to the other teachers and staff who cheer him on daily; for his teacher for pushing just as much as we to get him the evaluation for services; for his past teachers for being such angels in his life. So begins a new chapter. I feel we are on a much better path, rather than floundering. Things may change in the coming months and years. But I’m good with what happened this morning. I’m good with where we are.