Yesterday, I attended Bailey’s very last, IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting. Since he was five, I would attend them on heightened alert since the majority of the time the educators were not following the plan that we had in place. Exhausted and frustrated at our education system for leaving my child behind, I have finally arrived at my last curtain call. However, while I might be done with that particular battlefield, there will be another one around the corner….there ALWAYS is.
Being a mother is tough, but when you partner it with an advocate on steroids, things can get ugly quick. Being sweet didn’t get me anywhere. I quickly found that researching, having expert backup, and a lot of prayer, allowed me the ability to achieve the impossible. There were a handful of teachers who contributed to the success of Bailey, but there are more that did nothing but the bare minimum. I don’t fault them as much as I fault the system.
I exhaled yesterday as I walked to my car. It was like climbing the highest mountain, reaching the top, and placing a celebratory flag to mark the success. I didn’t do it all alone, but there were many times where I felt alone. Raising a special needs child is the hardest challenge that I have ever faced. It changed me, molded me into a surprisingly bold person, and allowed me the privilege of watching Bailey transition, into his first, paying job. Twenty years ago, I was afraid of this moment. Today, I am encouraged that society is shifting into his favor. I am blown away with the support that we have and I am celebrating the victory of not having to cause injury to someone during the process.