Today is the eve of the final Triennial IEP in the school setting. The memories of all those meetings since preschool fill my head this morning. I remember the preschool teacher gently suggesting that I take her to get an evaluation. I remember my reaction. Oh how things change as we gain knowledge!
I recall the first few IEP’s where I sat so naively listening to the rattling off of test scores that made no sense to my very unexperienced mind. I no longer think about what might have been, had I known what I know now, since it seems pointless to go backwards.
Tomorrow we will be setting goals for the remaining couple years in the school setting. We will be looking at post school goals. As part of her transition goal development, they ask her what she hopes to be doing post high school. Since they must document her response, the last 3 years IEP has reflected a post school goal to be a “bull rider”. Yes, a bull rider. Good thing she got to ride that mechanical bull this summer–we can now cross that off the goal list.
As the IEP has approached we have talked many times about a post school goal or job. While the bull rider dream has faded and we are now talking more career type goals, I am struggling with the mixed emotions of her latest ‘dream’.
She has gone from wanting to be a “brain surgeon” to now striving to be an EMT. I am thrilled she is past the bull rider but also saddened that her hopes are to achieve a far off and unattainable goal.
I live in the reality that cognitively that is not possible. This is the same girl who if not written on her to-do list, will not eat lunch. The weeks of being out of shampoo because the executive functioning to request more isn’t there. Crossing streets without looking. Being unsure as to values of nickels and dimes. Understanding time passing. Appropriate topics in conversation. Asking for help. Problem solving.
Many may say that her goal should be my goal and that if she wants to work towards being an EMT then I should support her. My response is that I do support her. Together we got the volunteer position at the hospital. Together we work towards functional skills. Together we learn problem solving strategies. Together we work just beyond her capacity. And for the first time in many years, she is happy and she feels successful.
I learned long ago to be realistic.