Wednesday, May 29, 2013

testing testing 1-2-3

In the world of special needs one conversation that you inevitably face is testing for the dreaded IEP.  I have heard about it since my very first "support" group meeting when I had one tiny innocent three month old baby.  There are many pre-concieved notions that go into this process because you are fed many tidbits of information by numerous caring, concerned parents in similar circumstances.  I absorbed all of this info, whirling in my head, will they push him, will he be distracted, will he be scared because it's in a strange place, will he feel like it's torture because it's an hour over the course of two-three times?  Do I want to hear the results?  THE results of what your child can and can't do neatly summarized into printed out white sterile sheets of paper.  Does this make my child? Does this break my child? Does this mar him for his future in school because if he is awful than the expectations are too low, if he is awesome than is the bar too high? Is there ever too high?  You see, lots of thoughts and questions swirl in this world.  This microcosm of parenting with a special needs child.  Add in the stress of have you done enough up until this point? Shit I haven't even worked with him on pointing to objects in photos, why didn't I do that more? Come on Nolan- you grab your cheerios with a pincer grasp every DAY!  Oh good he knows his shapes, oh crap you want him to do it within a certain time and he has to repeat it FOUR FRIGGING times??? CRAP oh CRAP.

It's what I was expecting, those feelings.  They were there, I am not going to lie.  I sat there justifying to myself that of course he wasn't going to repeat it perfectly, he hasn't done it before.  And we are in a strange place and now someone he doesn't know is asking him things and he can't stop staring at her.  This isn't fair ran through my head a brief moment and then I stopped.  I stopped it all.  I sat there still and though to myself.  No this isn't what it's all about.  This is a fricking test, just like Graham takes and Audrey will take and they will also be measured and no one will care if their dog died the night before, or they just got over puking or I screamed at them that morning.  It's life.  And I felt better.  I realized Nolan is in this world of life and the real world just as they are and truth be told you do have a time limit and you do have to sit still and focus when you don't want to.  You do have to listen to strangers and go into weird rooms and sit in different chairs.  It's harder for him, yes.  But, life won't change for him, won't mold to his brain or his time frame.  Trust me old people and parking spots don't hurry for my world either.  It's life.  And instantly I felt better, this doesn't have to be stressful and agonizing, this is just another hoop and another aspect of Nolan that is different, not worse, not better, different.  The rest of the time, I smiled, knowing his accomplishments are well earned and his teachers pride filled that room.  I smiled because he had an exceptionally adorable outfit on and his hair was curling in the humidity, shallow but truly precious.  I smiled because as I walked out of there, I didn't hang in shame or frustration or anger, I rose to being his mama and knowing when he needs me to kick someone's ass I will do it, but so far he's doing just fine.  It felt good and also I have appreciated for ONCE in my life my realistic attitude, ok fine some say it's pessimistic, but I don't.  I know each of our children's limitations and I think that's fine, it prepares all of us for when they fall and instead of sitting there with my mouth stuck open I can simply wrap my arms around them and say it's ok they are awesome just as they are.  After all, who really cares if you can stack 5 blocks or 7?


  1. I love this post. Especially from my perspective as the person writing those IEPs. They don't define your child, just give us information on where to go when they enter our classroom. The most valuable information is the info that comes from the parents. The people that see them everyday. Love your attitude and miss those kids!

  2. Oh, IEP's! When I was teaching special ed. I hated IEP's...and they are almost enough to make me never want to go back into special ed. ever again. But I don't think I've ever heard such an awesome parents' perspective. Way to let the stress go out the window, Grace. You are such a great Mama. (And I have no doubt that Nolan looked totally GQ as he was being assessed.)

  3. Loved this! It took me forever to get to that point where I could just shrug off all Russell's testing and what not. I use to post angry rants every time we had to do one, now I don't even write about them at all. It is what it is. And what it is is not a big deal.

    Also, we can still be friends because yes I will allow you to do all my shopping for me :D


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