Today I took Joshua to CMS for his evaluation for his IEP. Overall it went well, he did really well, but we won’t find out any results or what preschool they have decided for him until his IEP meeting which is March 14. However, I had a really funny experience while I was there. When I first arrived at the exceptional children’s center they ushered me into a small room with chairs and some toys to wait on our facilitator. When I first got into this room Joshua and I were alone, but shortly after that two women came in, both appeared to be waiting for their children to finish therapy. One of the women’s children came into the room and was obviously full of energy. She was bouncing around the room and talking loudly. The other woman in the room looked disgusted and frustrated. A therapist came into the room a short time later to speak with the mother of the girl about her therapy session. About that time the other woman who was waiting “shushed” the little girl in a rude sounding way. I couldn’t see the mother’s face, but apparently she gave the woman a dirty look because the woman proceeded to say, “sorry, but she was being really loud and it was bothering me”. The mother said, “you just don’t have a lot of patience, she is just being a child” and the woman went on to loudly pronounce that she herself did understand children because she had two. At that point, I was wondering two things, first, whether the two women were going to fight physically or not, and two why the woman couldn’t have kept her mouth shut and just kept to herself. I strongly considered saying, “you must not understand what it is like to have a child with special needs, it can be really hard to control them not matter how good of a parent you are.” I kept my mouth shut though. About that time, the therapist ushered the mother and child out into the hall to diffuse the situation. That left me, Joshua and the woman in the room together. The woman began to justify her actions by saying she sees that mother and child here all the time and the child is always loud. And how she just couldn’t deal with it. I was politely smiling and nodding, really trying to just get her to be quiet about it so I didn’t say what I was really thinking which was, “I can’t believe you just did that! You are crazy!” Then the woman began to ask about Joshua and why we were there. She went on to tell me she has two boys, one with Autism and ADHD. Seriously! I was shocked and glad I hadn’t made any comment about her not understanding what it’s like to parent a child with special needs, but also wondering why since she obviously did understand would she be so intolerant.
We began to talk about Joshua and she asked if he was adopted and I said “yes” and she proceeded to tell me I was a saint for taking him on. (I hate hearing that by the way) So, I decided since she thought I was a saint I would just go whole hog on her and told her about our soon to be daughter. She said she had worked with older children with needs like our daughters ad she didn’t know why anyone would take something like that on intentionally. I smiled, didn’t really know what to say to that. She then left the room and said she knew what we were going through and that was it. It was one of the oddest conversations I have had recently. It really shocked me to find such intolerance in the special needs community. I expected all parents of special needs kids to be kind and tolerant of other people’s children. I try to be, because I know what it’s like. I guess that isn’t always the case. I left the room feeling a little depressed about it all, but then God sent me a pat on the back from Him.
Joshua and I went into the room where they were going to do his evaluation and in there was a psychologist, our facilitator, a OT, a Speech therapist and a play facilitator (yep, that is a real job). I had no idea what that last one was either, but her job was to get Joshua to engage in the activities that would show the therapists what they needed to know. After the whole thing was over she was in the room with Josh and I and she looked at me with tears in her eyes and told me what an amazing job I was doing with him and thanked me for taking him as our son knowing he had a long road ahead of him. I hate the saint comment, because it seems cliché, but this woman’s comments were heartfelt and I really appreciated them. God had sent her to me to let me know that there are good people in the special needs community when I was starting to doubt it. He sent her to me to show me that all our hard work with him, the hours of therapy and a million doctor’s visits are all worth it and making a difference. God shows up and uses the most unlikely people to encourage you just when you need it most.