The Other Side of the Table

As a teacher I’ve sat in countless meetings where it was decided a student should receive special education services. I have comforted parents who were upset and assured them this was best choice for their child. Today I sat in one of those meetings.

Only this time I was on the other side of the table.

A group of therapists, a psychologist and a teacher assured me special education preschool was the best option for Jack in the fall. I know this is true. I’ve known for awhile. But it was still hard to swallow when they showed me his scores on a “typical” score sheet. He fell below “average” in five of six areas. I cried a little and everyone was so kind. The rest of the meeting went well and I was able to tour the building. His teacher seemed amazing and I left feeling like it was a great place for Jack.

But I went in the parking lot and cried for a few minutes. I allowed myself some time to just be sad. To grieve. I prayed and ask God to help me let go of what I thought life would look like. To accept that the twins won’t go to the same school next year.

As I drove to pick the twins up I wondered who could I call who would understand? Who has been in my position and knows how I feel? The list was quite short.

Why don’t more parents talk about this? What if we started posting pictures of IEP meetings and developmental therapy sessions on social media? What if special ed was something we celebrated instead of whispered about?

A dear friend told me to let go of the grief. Because it’s mine, not his. Jack doesn’t know he’s below “typical”. He doesn’t know he qualified for special ed or that the people who play with him are therapists helping him catch up to “normal” kids.

This whole process with Jack has changed my attitude and perceptions. I’ve decided to start talking about it openly, writing about it, posting updates of his journey and hopefully change your mind too.

Am I still praying he catches up? Yes sir.
But in the meantime I’m going to shift my thinking and remind myself I’m not alone. There is a village of people, equipped and willing to help. Instead of dreading the other side of the table, I choose to see the village. Instead of dreading a diagnosis or the future or what he may not be, I choose to see what he is right now.
Silly, quirky, cuddly and cute. Ridiculously cute.

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