It must be love. I mean, what else would you call it that motivates me to do what I do for that child? If you have a child with special needs, you will know what I am talking about. If you don't, let me share with you. This might enlighten, frighten, or forever scar you. Or, it might become the birth control some of you need. Whatever it does, it is something that I have had to constantly challenge, or amend, or placate, in order to get my boy child to the place he is today.
I.E.P. They tell me it is an acronym for individualized education plan. I have my own version. Incredibly and Exceedingly Paralyzing (to the parent that has to attend and work on them.) I generally begin with an eye twitch a few days before the meeting, then I move on to show greater levels of anxiety like over eating and researching ways to home school an autistic child. Each time, I feel horrible, and realize that I am not equipped to home school, or to have that much sugar in me at any given time. Therefore, I attend the meetings. Geoff has never come with me, however, early on, I almost hired an advocate. That was while he was in preschool, and that yahoo didn't see his needs, nor did she recognize that she was ineffective and unnecessary. And when she argued with me, I dug my heals in, and can't be more grateful that G-d gave me the ability to make a fool of myself for the sake of my child.
We had Charlie diagnosed at two years old, three months. He was diagnosed with autism, sensory integration dysfunction, as well as speech delay. I believed that I could heal him. I did- to this point. While he will always be Charlie, quirky and all, he is not what he was. He no longer spins in circles. He is no longer mute. He learned how to play with children. He is a loving, happy, at times, confident child. I quit my job, and we threw every bit of money we had, plus some we didn't, at early intervention, therapies that included biomedical treatments to speech, occupational and ABA. I prayed hard, and often, for direction, and always went with my gut instinct for him. I did extreme therapies, to simple modifications, and at seven years old, I can tell you, without a doubt, he would not be where he is now, if it were not for my early interventions.
So, bring us to today, and yet another meeting to discuss his educational progress and needs. The team consists of the parent(s), teacher, special education teacher, speech and occupation therapists and the facilitator. While I correspond often, and prolifically with the educators when I have concerns, this meeting was not a high stress meeting for me, since I had recently addressed major concerns with the teachers I needed to. While in there, we did address some goals that needed amending, and future strategies that might facilitate learning for Charlie. At some point, we discussed Charlie's need for movement and how we can link that to memorization, and the O.T. commented on how that might really help when it comes time to memorize the multiplication tables. At which point, I had verbal diarrhea and and audible shutter as I told her that the mere mention of that made me open a bottle of wine, in my head. Laughter from the peanut gallery. I was not kidding, PEEPS! I have honestly worked so hard at times to simply teach the CVC reading, and those freakin' "tricks" that don't ever apply to everything in the English language. Luckily, he is doing well in math at this time.
So, what I really want you to know about raising a child who has challenges, is that each accomplishment is an accomplishment for the parents as well, and whether you have a child with special needs or not, you have to advocate for them. You have to accept responsibility for raising them, educating them, and loving them so completely, that you discipline and love equally. I love my son today, and every day. If not, I might have allowed my fifth day of a headache to allow me to cancel and stay in bed a bit longer. Rather, I found my needs were trumped by love for my Chazman. I love you boy migit! You make me so proud to be your mom- at times, cheerleader, friend, or confidant. Mostly, I love to see you happy, successful and loving. I will support you in the best way I know how to, FOREVER!
Blogher roll call-- HERE for love!