So, my last post I said, I was not going to fight for special education and it turns out that I don’t have to: my son qualified. To be honest, this was a big shock for me, because I was fully expecting them to say that he didn’t qualify (the social worker had even warned me).
When I found out, I let out a huge sigh of relief. But the weight on my shoulders didn’t lift, my fears about the future didn’t abate, and I realized that even though I got what I wanted, I was still had a lot of strange feelings.
No one, unless through adoption or foster care, sets out to be the parent of a child with special needs. It is something that jumps up on you when you are least expecting it. Sometimes, maybe you have a warning, but other times, things seem fine until they are not. We are all invited into this tribe through circumstance, and there is no easy path afterwords. As with all parents, we each make our path, picking through the weeds and rocks on our way to an undetermined location.
Of course, this is not to discount the difficulties that the children themselves are facing.
The difficulties, confusion, and frustration that may accompany the daily living of a little child are real and heart breaking for parents. I see my son, and he looks so “regular.” And yet, I see the struggles that he faces when his emotions get to big for him to handle, when there are crowds of people, or when his body needs to move but he isn’t allowed to. I have become so attuned to his little body that I can tell when the anxiety is bubbling up, hiding under the surface and threatening to escape in an explosion.
And so, I have to admit, I was surprised when, after getting what I wanted – an IEP and special education in an integrated classroom – that my feelings were so mixed. I didn’t feel like I got what I wanted at all. In fact, all along, I have felt that maybe I was just overreacting to my son’s difficulties and his behaviors, but getting the “official” label reminded me that no, it was not just me.
I remain hopeful.
I remain hopeful that he can maybe work his way out of special education as we learn more about his needs and he learns more about his own behaviors. This of course, is not possible for all children, but I think it might be for my son. Maybe as we better understand what causes the problems, we can better create a solution.