Today one of the biggest stressors I have been dealing with as of late, was resolved. Reese’s triennial IEP is complete. An IEP is an Individual Education Plan proposed by a team of professionals at the school district level. They include input from various educators, practitioners, and myself included, to get an accurate assessment on where Reese is “at”. Prior to the IEP date a multitude of tests are conducted to assess abilities in all areas. With Reese entering kindergarten in the Fall this testing and IEP were pretty significant as far as importance goes. It basically lays out the plan for her next full year of school and also guides her transition into kindergarten. In the world of special ed, which is where we’ve chosen to keep her, the information will be used to determine all the different services Reese will need (speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adaptive PE) that will help her thrive in an educational environment. Most parents dread IEP day. I don’t usually dread it but I have a certain amount of expectations and hopes floating around in my head and heart. I have learned, however, that what you really need on IEP day is a whole lot of realism and a thick skin. TRUST ME when I say they NO PARENT ever wants to hear words like “delay” or “performed poorly” whether you have a child with or without special needs.
I have mentioned before that once I had children I promised myself that I wasn’t going to rush things along. I didn’t want to hurry them developmentally any faster than they were ready. I didn’t want to push for an “older” time or ability. I just wanted to enjoy every day with them exactly where they (and I) were at. I didn’t want rob them (or me) of the delights of growing up on “their” time.
I believe a lot of this came from losing my mother. I guess I often look at relationships in terms of how much time I may have left with that person. Morbid, perhaps. But let me tell you, I have a true appreciation for every moment I spend with the people I love. And I think this was all preparing me to becoming Reese’s mommy.
Children with down syndrome grow, thrive, learn and become just like typical children, it just may take them a little bit longer to get there. Although at times this can be heartbreaking, it has also been one of the things that I love most about raising Reese. It’s like time stands still for her. You have no other choice but to enjoy the moment because you’re there for so long.
Reese has made sure that I kept that promise to myself all those years ago. It’s okay to linger. To dally. To go slower than others. To appreciate just where you’re at … and to enjoy the journey rather than always worry about the destination.
Well, I hope you all have a day where you take your time!!!