Today was my son's IEP. Every year we sit at a big table and dig through the many details of his education. Today for two hours we preformed this well rehearsed task. I am really tired.
The cool thing is the district is awesome. There are a couple of issues regarding team interpreting for lectures but really given the red tape it takes to get approval I am impressed with the services and attention to detail the special education folks provide. They have years of experience with deaf education and listen to me when I have an opinion. For the first time I really feel like everyone at the table really wants my son to get exactly what he needs and has the power to make it happen. There was even a general education teacher at the table who is very dedicated to my son. She has done independent research and is determined to do the best she can to make sure my son's experience is on par with the other kids. Amazing. I walked away knowing everyone is learning but that I can trust the learning is happening, even with me.
It has been years of figuring out how to communicate my opinions that got me to this table. This is why I am tired tonight. I have researched for years. I have learned the law and jargon. This is a component of raising a deaf kid that only a parent really at the end of the day understands. It goes beyond your child's development and progress into a whole new academic world. A world that is foreign, off your radar.
While deciding on how you will raise your child you are also called on to protect that decision before you even get a real understanding of what that decision is. You are left to figure out how to negotiate, how to get to yes. You have to develop tools to ascertain who is really knowledgeable and who is intrenched in personal bias. You have to wiggle around "privacy" issues to get to the heart of why things happen. You have to hope you can create a team and not adversarial chaos. The most important thing is you have to do is
Leave your emotions at home.
So I am tired tonight after a good IEP. I walked away with a sigh of relief and grateful hope. My son skipped his meeting for the first time. He had a twelve hour day today and he was stuck in rehearsals. He was a bit ticked about missing it but the law has requirements and his birthday is sneaking up. On that night his show will be interpreted for the community.