Thursday, December 13, 2012
Last week, we had my little guy's IEP meeting. It was a re-determination meeting (our first 3 year re-evaluation, actually), so it was LONG. And draining. We went over so many tests, goals, accommodations, learning aids...
I learned a few things at this meeting.
First, I adore his team. The clearly love my son, and believe he will succeed academically and in life. They talk about his sense of humor, his intelligence, his strengths - non stop. They frame his weaknesses as 'not yet's' and 'we're making progress'. I left the meeting feeling like everything was good - and anyone who's ever been to an IEP meeting knows that isn't always the case.
Second, we have a long road ahead of us. I'm not talking academically, I'm actually talking about psychologically. The psychologist, when going over IQ results, told me he is 'acutely aware' of what he cannot do that his peers can do. He gets upset when he can't do something - calling himself 'dumb' or 'stupid'. On the flip side, he is immensely proud of himself when he does something right - he thrives on praise.
He's got a long way to go as far as speech and academics - really just reading, but it is so hard for him. I try to think about how that makes him feel. To know his peers can easily read a book, and to be unable to sound out a word. To hear his peers speak, and know that everyone else can keep up with the conversation but you can't. To understand (the speech therapist pointed this one out) that you are trying as hard as you can but you cannot produce the /f/ or /l/ sounds. Basically hear yourself say it wrong, despite telling your mouth to say it right. How hard it is to know you act different than everyone else, that everyone else is fine with those loud noises and sensory input.
Her point was proven a few days ago.
While visiting his classroom, I saw a picture of a little boy on a cubby that I had never seen before. I asked Graham if there was a new boy in his self-contained class he spends part of his day in.
"Yes, N is new. He's 'special'. He's 'special' enough to be in Ms. G's class."
He didn't say it in a positive way.
And in that moment, I felt my heart break.