All For You my Son

Dear Son,

Your IEP meeting was 2 hrs long.  Blessed that the majority of the teachers and therapists have your best interest.  There was one and there always is, who battled with me for the last hour over whether to take away your therapy service.  Since you were 18 months, I’ve fought hard for you.  Today was no different.  I believe in you, see you mature and win over many challenges that comes with autism, you work hard.  I advocate for all the support necessary to foster your success, even when others don’t agree.  Mama advocated really hard the last hour.  It wasn’t easy but as always, I dug up that strength and courage I never knew I had till you were born.  She eventually agreed and I won.  All for you Andrew.

Love,
Mommy

‪#‎momsknowbest‬‪#‎nevergiveup‬ ‪#‎autismdoesnotdefineme‬

potato head

Generalizing his coping skills

Late post from 7/26/14

kayak

This looks like an ordinary pic of a 7 year old. In my eyes and to those who know Andrew well, seeing him sitting calmly and knowing this kayak ride was free of anxiety and high energy is huge!  This Lil guy had a rough week: a traumatizing hospital procedure and a dreadful 2 hour speech therapy eval.  Through them he utilized the skills he’s been equipped with, to the best of his ability.  Before the dental procedure held at a hospital, he didn’t need assistance walking from pre-op to the the surgery room.  He did freeze in the hall where way too many staff nurses were staring at him.  Andrew crouched while clutching on his blankie, started crying and said, “There’s too many people here!!”  That’s huge!  He was a big boy and finally walked into the OR.  When the RNs finally had to carry him on to the table, he cried and said “Mommy I don’t want to go to sleep!”  It was really hard and emotional for me to watch that followed by the doctor applying the mask to his face.  I could hear him struggle and try to talk but he passed out.

During an annual speech evaluation, Andrew was pretty tired.  I made the mistake of scheduling it the same week as his procedure.  He did well overall but made a few comments like this is too long or I’m done but he kept going answering questions and working.

As his mom, who’s traveled down this road with him for 7 years, I am so proud of how much he has progressed and how hard he tries everyday to do all the things that come naturally to 7 years olds, but have to be taught to him.

Dear IEP Team,

Dearest Teacher, Psychologist, ABA Supervisor, Regular Mainstream Teacher, Speech Therapist, Occupation Therapist, PE Teacher, Principal: Thank you for being here at my son’s annual IEP.  You have the right to state what you think.  But do not be fooled by my nice small appearance.  I will tell u what I know and feel are my son’s abilities are, what his goals will be, n which services he will maintain to get him there.  Please do not underestimate son.  Don’t give me the “oh but the school budgets.”  This mama knows the law so try it and I’ll simply remind you what our rights are.

I will not sign this legal document that lists the bare minimum of what you plan to provide.  I may eventually back down but I will call you & email you until I can convince you otherwise. You’ve seen, and you’ve heard me before, you would go the great distance if your or your child the tables were turned.  I won’t cry our scream at you during our intense meeting because this is a business transaction after all.  Your job is to save money, intimidate the parents and remind us how far my son has gone so that he no longer needs support.  I will keep at it even when I’ve given up.

Some of you, even your bosses at the district level know how extremely persistent this Lil mama can be.  I’ve learned who to call when to call and who to sic’ em  when you’re cleverly trying to sell me short of services.  Just don’t.  If you must, ask you’re higher ups what major differences I’ve made my son.  All without an attorney but instead with local heros who stick by my side.

BTW, if I haven’t yet mentioned I’m not signing the IEP today.  I never do, so you’ll be hearing from me.  I usually email, then call you, email again.  When we can’t negotiate, I usually will let the teacher know I’m calling another IEP meeting which I know most of you would dread another 2 or 3 hours going in circles with me.  I do bluff,  I mean I really do.  I’ll reschedule another one and then I’ll individually try one last pull.  If nothing, well it depends.  Like last year, this really difficult traditionally taught Occupation Therapist recommended to completely take away Andrew’s OT service.  My husband and I knew from his trustworthy private OT that this end was bound to happen soon.  However, we don’t go without a fight.  For 2 hours during the IEP meeting, we went back and forth with the OT arguing our stance.  At one point I said in rebuttal, ” That’s too bad you feel that way!”  She felt Andrew met all his goals in OT.  You know the traditional gross motor, fine motor, etc.  My argument is if OT can provide more sensory exercises, it’ll help him focus, regulate and learn better.  The OT responded that’s not an educational need.  I remained professional until the very end when I got tired kicked my husband under the table to take over.

I apologize in advance for my overbearing persistence and my Libra qualities. But you see, I’m a mom of a special kid I bore into this world and ummm well that should sum it up.