Happy, Healthy, and Well Adjusted

During my first IEP meeting I was asked what were my goals for my son.  I answered that I wanted E to be happy, healthy and well adjusted.  It was what I could I could think of on the spot.  A few years later, its still in the document.

My biggest struggle in the beginning of my parental journey was keeping my head while so many voices wanted my attention.  There was expert advice that proved to be awful.  There were bad ideas from administrators. There were even teachers who disregarded me entirely.

My point is there are a lot of opinions on where your child should be at different levels and as a special needs parent its important sometimes to tune out the negative noise.  Although many, many will tell you that you are your child’s best advocate, they still may push things that you believe are harmful to your child.    In fact, I remember a meeting at my child’s old preschool where the phrase “you are your child’s best advocate” sounded about as sincere as a southern saying bless your heart.

The noise may also be repetitious.  Even though I informed my son’s preschool that E was in both developmental and speech therapy, I would get pulled aside at pickup.  I would be informed of all the things E was not doing yet.  If I wasn’t seeking therapy that would be helpful,  but the developmental therapist actually held sessions in class.

I’ve had a special education expert put Legos on a list of things to help E calm down.  This might make sense for other kids, but my son is actually not a big fan of Legos.  I’ve had to be that parent more times than I’ve wished.

The worst noise comes to me through the internet.  They all have titles like, “End Meltdowns Forever”, “Cure Picking Eating in just a Weekend”, or “No More Whining.”   The hyperbole is ridiculous.  They even sometimes come with good advice, but none of those steps are instantaneous.  These are skills and struggles that with all things take time.

The good thing is that as many negative voices, I’ve also met some very positive ones along the way as well.  Hold onto good OTs, therapists and reward the teachers that listen.  If someone is not helping then you don’t have to stay with them.  I don’t go back to a hair stylist that gives me a bad haircut.  Well maybe one more time just to give them a second chance.  Still, trust yourself as the expert on your child.

I have no doubt that my child will be able to succeed.  The journey probably won’t look anything like the neighbor’s next door.  I’m Ok with that.  We’ll keep working on improving.  I have no idea if E wants to be a teacher or an astronaut, but as long as in the end my son is happy, healthy, and well adjusted we’ll be fine.








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