Thursday we had Joshua’s IEP meeting. An IEP is an Individualized Education Plan, or in english it is a document that is put together for kids with special needs detailing what those needs are and how a school plans to meet those needs. This has been a long process for us with Joshua, we have been to four different meetings to get to the point of writing this document. A few weeks ago we had Joshua evaluated by different therapists and a psychologist to see what his needs were exactly. This is the first time he has had such a comprehensive evaluation. It’s something I have been wanting for a while now, but at the same time seeing it all down on paper makes you face things you would rather ignore sometimes. So, on Thursday we sat down with his evaluation team and they presented their findings to us and what they felt were the goals we should set for him and how we would reach those goals. Overall it was a good meeting, they decided he should attend a preschool for kids with special needs that is apart of our local school system two days a week and he would have speech therapy there at school one time a week. We wanted this for him, we knew an EC preschool was what he needed, but it’s still hard to face it all. He has made such progress in the past three years and yet he still has some progress to make to catch up to his peers, especially in speech.
The evaluation team found that he was behind in speech, cognitively and also socially. We knew all those things, but they give you these percentage points of just how far behind your child is and what his developmental age is. Those numbers are not easy to read at times, okay well anytime really. No one wants to hear your child is deficient in anything, but you also cannot stick your head in the sand and not face things. Our goal was is that Joshua will catch up enough in the next couple years that he can attend a regular preschool with regular kids and maybe just need a little speech therapy. It’s a great goal and one they think he can achieve.
Having a child with special needs you can get so desensitized to things. I sat in that meeting and was able to talk about my son and his issues in such an analytical way, because I have to separate myself from emotions in times like that. You could not make good decisions if you didn’t. I feel like we have done the very best for Joshua because we have faced his issues head on and try not to over emotionalize them. But I freely admit it is hard sometimes. I will say that being in that meeting and seeing Joshua is 50% behind in speech and so on makes me not so nervous about our daughter’s deficiencies. Kids with special needs can sound so scary on paper with all their issues. I realized that Joshua would sound pretty bad if you just saw his evaluation and all the areas he needs to work on, but that doesn’t show you the whole pictures. Joshua and our little girl are both wonderfully dynamic kids. They have abilities that most people don’t have. They see the world differently and cause others to do the same around them. They are tenacious and determined and don’t really care what others think. I love that about them. We don’t know what the future holds for either of them, or for any of our kids for that matter. However, we do know that we have the ability to love these kids and do the best we can to help them achieve whatever they are capable of, however much or little that might be. And the best part is that while my kids may have special needs or deficiencies here on earth they will not in heaven. I get to parent them here on earth but I also get to be their parent in heaven when they will be whole and capable of whatever they wish to do. I think that is pretty cool. You cannot just look at the here and now, you have to keep the future in mind when you look at the present.