Ryan's annual IEP* review is coming up this week. I'm mentally preparing to sit with all of Ryan's teachers and therapists and the relevant folks from the Board of Education to talk about Ryan's progress and what he needs in the near future.
We've played this game before, of course. We're going to smile about how cute he is, then talk about how hard he's working in school, and finally agree that he's not ready for mainstreaming. Someone will trot out a "regression statement" which I will use to lobby for summer school. Ryan will be promised the services he needs, and I will go to my car and cry because he still needs so much.
I appreciate how far Ryan has come - I really do - and I know we're fortunate that he's wading as close to autism's shallow end as he is, but damn it, this crap gets really frustrating sometimes.
Why are we still working on his ability to answer yes/no questions accurately?
Will he ever tell me "I'm thirsty" instead of saying "Milk starts with a letter M?"
How much longer will it be before Ryan thinks to communicate to us that he needs to go to the bathroom, and realizes he doesn't need to wait for me to ask him if he has to go?
Is he going to keep hurling himself to the floor and throwing himself into walls to hurt himself when he's frustrated forever?
How many more years until he can tell me what he dreams about? What he wants to be when he grows up? Who he likes to play with?
When will he have a friend his own age?
And as I'm getting my head ready for this annual review, I'm trying to focus on Ryan's progress relative to himself, but that's really hard to do when my friends are gloating about the accomplishments of their typically-developing children. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that your five-year-old daughter has mastered fractions. I'm truly happy for you that your four-year-old can ask such insightful questions about the world. I love the imaginative stories your two-year-old makes up. But I'm learning that I've got an ugly jealous streak, and I want all that for my kid.
And I want my kid to be able to play with your kids without all sorts of special accommodations and explanations.
But I don't think that's going to happen next school year.
* Individual Educational Protocol - the all-important document that outlines what services a child will get in special ed and what the goals of those services shall be.