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IEP Reports, Recovery and Tears… Always Tears.

February 19, 2014

Reading IEP Reports ALWAYS makes me cry.  They’re long and dry and they capture moments of a child’s life in unfeeling terms.  I guess that is what they’re supposed to do, give a “measurement” of symptoms for comparison to previous years.  Professionals LOVE data.

To me they were painful because they reinforced what we already knew about our child but they never added any happy.  They quantify undesired behaviors but they don’t say a single word about his amazing blue eyes, his shy smile, his laugh or any of the million other things that have made me fall crazy in love with him over and over again every day of his 18+ years.

So this morning I stumbled upon a  bunch of these reports and before I knew it I was knee deep, wading through them.  I couldn’t stop myself.  The childhood years have passed so quickly, I just wanted to remember my little boy, now a man.

At times I can’t make sense of the words swimming on the pages before me.  A few heavy blinks and they spring back into orderly lines.  Sure, now the front of my pajama top is soaking but I don’t care.  Can’t. Stop. Now.

I am transported to the tiny conference rooms, seated at a too-small table filled with four to six professional educators, social workers, behavioral consultants, psychologists, autism specialists; all waiting, I believed, for a turn to beat my emotional brains in.  Occasionally there would be a person who would say something wonderfully insightful about our child, letting me know that they knew my REAL Ben  Twice there were teachers who teared up, watching me weep as I listened to the results of the current round of testing and observations, placing my baby at various levels on various scales of achievement.

I can even remember some of the outfits I wore, chosen oh, so carefully, to convey a message that I’m intelligent enough to chose coordinating clothing, have a husband who loves me, that we can afford nice things and that I will not be “talked down to.”  Funny, to this day I still consider the earrings I wore my “IEP earrings” because they made me feel confident enough to  face these highly educated people.  It was as if earrings could bridge the gap between my two years of college and their 4,6,8.  Looking back I guess I just wanted to convince someone, ANYONE, that I wasn’t scared because I sure as hell couldn’t convince myself.

Reading these reports today is different for me and I weep now because I believe that my son is recovered. RECOVERED.

Gone are the tics, the stimming behaviors, the lack of eye contact, the choosing physical return over verbal.  The things that masked his brilliance are gone.  I believe he is now entirely neuro-typical.  I see a bright future ahead of him.  I weep because looking back I see clearly the grace of God woven into Ben’s years of work at self mastery.  I see my son, this brave, funny, kind, handsome, holy man emerging from Autism and walking down the path God has lain before him.  I see Ben cooperating with God’s plan for him.

I weep tears of joy.

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