What It Looks Like
Posted on 29 January 2012
What you think it will look like:
“Oh! Your son is amazing. We all just love him, and he is clearly brilliant. He has picked up reading in just the week he’s been here; we figured out exactly what the problem was and now it’s solved. And you were absolutely right – his math skills are much higher than first grade, so we are giving him a special curriculum to work on while the other kids do their math class. He should have no trouble settling right in here at school. It’s clear that you’ve done an exceptional job of teaching him at home. These issues of his are nothing you could have helped.”
What it actually looks like:
“Welcome to your child’s IEP meeting. Here is a list of goals for the coming year, which include writing his first and last name from memory 75% of the time, and writing lowercase letters with 75% accuracy. We have made accommodations for homework, which means he can dictate his answers to you and you can write them. He will have a picture schedule to help him know what is going to happen. He is allowed breaks when he gets overwhelmed, which is often.
“What’s that you ask? Yes, it’s possible that he will one day not need an IEP, but it is a good idea to always have one anyway, because even after high school he may need continued services.”
I turned my eldest son over to the public school system. There are some things I just can’t do by myself, I guess. The relief I feel is palpable, but so is the sadness of the boy who comes home after such a long day, so tired. So drained.
And I am sad, too. Sad that the plans I had, the amazing things we would do together, now have to be set aside, and sometimes understanding that you are doing the best thing is not consolation for the pain of failure.