Today was the Doodle's first IEP. For those of you not down with the special needs jargon, it stands for Individualized Education Plan. From everything I've read and everything I've been told it's a pretty big and stressful deal. School officials, teachers, a psychologist, nurse, speech therapist, Regional Center representative--they were all there. And then there was just ME. I kind of felt like I was at a deposition and that I should have brought some representation. I also couldn't help but think that the psychologist, who wouldn't stop taking notes, was hard at work analyzing me and my every (paranoid) move. I did my best not to fidget while sitting at the children's table on a tiny little chair that barely held my giant ass. I wondered if there was a psychological reason behind having us sit at a kids table.
First they gave me an official booklet of my parental rights, apparently I get a lot more of those since I have a child with "special needs". I'm just happy he's getting anything at all. I know I need to look out for his best interests throughout his life but I'm just so very grateful the Doodle is getting any services and special education at all from a public school system. I can't imagine fighting this battle without a professional support system or guidance from people who do this for a living.
So the IEP meeting drug on a bit, I can't believe it needed to take that long for his 3 hour per day educational plan, maybe I should have boned up more on the IEP Process but I think we could have handled it over the phone. The person conducting the meeting kept asking me if I was OK so far, and was she on the right path? As if I was about to storm out of the meeting and object. There was a lot of repeating of information and by the end of the meeting, my brain was mush. I've decided IEP really stands for "Intelligence Extraction Procedure" because I felt a little drained of my faculties.
Due to either progress or boredom, I will say, this is the first meeting I've been to where I haven't cried when talking about the Doodle and his condition(s). I kept thinking of the essay about Holland and how I was supposed to be in Italy right now. It is especially hard to sit back and listen to other people, people who have never even met this special boy yet, talk about him so clinically and matter-of-factly. It's not always so black and white with the Doodle and what is true one day for him could be completely different the next. I wanted to stand up and scream, this is my baby! He's a person not a diagnosis! But, I just smiled politely and then cried in my car on my way to Baskin Robbins for a much needed chocolate malt with vanilla ice cream.