Today we had a meeting with Squeaker’s school to update his IEP based on how his performance so far this school year. We agreed before the year started to meet again about a month after the year began just to give him some time to adjust and see how he’d really do since he never really had a year of full integration in regular education classes. Honestly, I’m proud of how far he’s come. He rocks the casbah when compared to where he started. At these kinds of meetings, though, they like to drag out work comparisons to show us how he could do if he didn’t have a disability. Compared to his classmates, I guess it’s easy to feel discouraged or like we’re just not doing enough.
I’ll admit, I felt a bit crestfallen about some things. They showed me his writing and told me that he writes one three-word sentence in comparison to his classmates, who now write 3-5 sentences. He does not use capitals, periods, or spaces between words. His reading level still shows as far below. Much of that shows up because he’s adding words while reading and he’s not able to retell the story. At home, he can retell if we read with him, but they do not get the same results there. We got shown his spelling test and he failed it, even though he knew every single word when quizzed at home. We got shown samples of his classmates’ spelling tests compared to his (his writing compared to his). How do you even compare that, honestly? We know his writing won’t look like theirs.
In math, at least he had average scores. We told them he could do the math during the summer when he had bombed their test, but they didn’t believe us then. Now they believe us. He guesses and is careless when answering questions, but we know he can do more. He doesn’t perform the way he should all of the time, but he did do well on one math test. His ability to answer word problems, though, is limited.
I could go on about all the things he needs to work on, but that’s pointless. Getting upset about all those things? Why do I do that? Yeah, okay, I could compare him to his peer group all I want. I’ll set us up for disappointment. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and when we compare ourselves others, we will always feel disappointment. I won’t allow my son to feel that disappointment. I will only compare him to himself. And let me just say, compared to the little guy we saw even just from a month ago, I’m pretty darn impressed! Hell, even they can now see that he can do so much more than they imagined.
We have some things to work on, and we will continue to work on them. Every bit of progress he makes beyond where he started, we’ll cheer him on. And yes, we’ll get frustrated when he doesn’t do what we know he can accomplish, but we only ever need to look at where he is relative to where he came from.
In the end, we accomplished what we came to the meeting for. We got information about him and what he has done so far this year. They let us know what they plan to do to help him get farther, which means a lot because we know they will continue to work with him and come up with solutions. We shared information about where we know he’s at and what he’s doing at home. And finally, we got things modified officially on his IEP.
I just wish we didn’t have to ruminate over how Squeaker did in comparison to his classmates. I’m good with just knowing how his current levels and what he’s doing in class. Telling me his grades, showing me his work, and telling me what’s expected of him versus what he’s doing should really serve as sufficient enough information. I can figure it all out well enough. In either case, I just know that my son has shown improvement and that we’re getting somewhere and right now, that’s got to be good enough.