Sunday, January 24, 2016
Of course, I'm not bringing this up to anyone at this time, but it is a thought in the back of my mind. I am not the parent. I really can do nothing but watch. I can coach my son. Maybe give advice if he asks, but I can take no action.
After four boys with special needs issues and constantly in active mode, this is different for me--being quiet in the background. I've learned to speak up and quickly. Sometimes loudly. Often repetitively. I could be in the doc's office or school meeting. The squeaky wheel gets oiled! If I spoke up, gently but assertively, my boys usually received what they needed. Being quiet usually yields nothing.
For now, we enjoy the birth of our first grandson, and quietly I will have to rely on a little bible verse: Matt 6: 33-34. 33"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.
Thursday, January 21, 2016
So what is an IEP? Basically, it's a written contract in which educational goals are written for the individual with special needs. Its focus is to educate the individual person, geared towards the issues and abilities of said person. IEP stands for individual educational program.
These meetings can be stressful and grueling, or they can be uplifting and reassuring. HA. They are usually grueling.
The participants are comprised of teachers, a psychologist, therapists, parents, and student, called the TEAM. Frequently, the school staff discuss the goals of the student before the meeting, though I don't think anyone would really admit to that. When the meeting commences, the goals are already written. If the parents agree with those goals, there is no problem. If the parent disagrees, then PROBLEM. It can become a battle or a downright WAR.
Sometimes our meetings would last three hours, and we'd have to postpone any conclusion. Those were horrific. Our child's needs were not being addressed appropriately, and as parents, we had to ensure they were.
Over the years, I learned that certain vocabulary terms were necessary to get what my child needed. Also, what one school could do was different from what another school could do, even in the same district. Some special ed classes were offered only at select schools. The staff, depending how dedicated to the student, may or may not want to implement other goals.
Quite often, I felt like an intruder rather than a team member. I always had someone else accompany if possible. Whether it was my husband or father, having an advocate helped streamline the meeting.
Not all meetings were terrible. Some could be pleasant, especially if I knew the staff. Getting to know the principal, secretary, and teachers helped to get my children what they needed. I volunteered a lot. That made a huge difference, and my boys prospered.
So with this last IEP, all my boys are moving toward adulthood. As they transition into the "real" world, my life also adjusts. There are no contracts with employers or colleges. I am concerned how my boys will progress, but as always, it's one day at a time. Seeing how they have succeeded thus far, I am confident they will find their way, and I will find mine.
GOOD BYE, IEPs!
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Cameron experienced a traumatic reaction to the MMR shot, rendering him having to relearn everything. He also had to overcome issues that did not exist previously. He became self abusive, and well, there's quite a history, of which I have written previously in earlier entries.
I now look at my son, who was diagnosed at age 2 with autism. He is now a young man, learning to drive, going to formals, attending honors classes, and looking towards a promising future. I never take for granted his progress. I am grateful. His endurance and strength give many others hope.
Cameron does not remember those tough years. I remind him occasionally. He needs to know how severe he was, so he can appreciate where he's going. I hope to teach him compassion for others as well. Sometimes, when a person overcomes weaknesses, that person has a difficult time being patient with others who suffer that particular weakness.
I've watched Cameron mature and grow. I'm impressed with his quiet demeanor and sometimes laugh at his subtle sarcasm. He's a force to be reckon, so he still needs guidance, as a young man should.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
After wrapping presents, the cardboard "swords" always tempt the boys to play. As they have gotten older, nothing has changed.
Two cardboard rolls awaited them.
Cameron and Nick picked them up and dueled in the unspoken challenge.
They took turns charging, hitting, and retreating. Then Nick took a swing. Cam lost most of his sword. In utter disbelief, Cam tried to piece it back together. Nick smiled victoriously. Cam acknowledged his defeat.
Sometimes the silliest thing are the best!
Living with all males in the house, I forget that their interpretations of words might be different than mine. Through my experience, whenever tape was mentioned, I didn't hesitate to get the scotch tape, so why would my son's be any different? I assumed he would know. However, his experience with tape has been duct tape, because duct tape fixes EVERYTHING. His dad has taught him well.
Although my expectation was not met with what I assumed Cameron would get, I was happy. He interpreted my words and did as I asked. His version of wrapping resulted in a much different look than my version. That's ok. He helped, and we had fun wrapping in our own style.
As we gave family members their presents, they got a good laugh. It all added the celebration of Christmas.
Saturday, December 12, 2015
We also got a professional portrait of ourselves done on board the ship. Mike said we should do things that we don't normally do. So, here is our official 25th anniversary photo together!