Little Victories

Photo Sep 11, 1 05 12 PMSometimes you have to pause in the course of life and celebrate the little victories. I don’t even know right now what it would look like to win the “war”. So today I’ll find the joy in celebrating the big little steps we’ve been able to reach the other side of.

As I’ve written of before, my son has autism. I’ve heard from more than one educator or practitioner that he doesn’t present as a typical case. Of course not, he’s my son and incredibly unique. But I understand what they’re trying to say. What has always worked for them when working with special needs students just doesn’t work for Jacob. He learns differently, he processes differently, he reacts differently than their “typical” student.

I love that about him. At the same time, it’s hard to find the right programming to help him learn. Yes, he has an IEP. Yes, there are supports and accommodations written into the IEP. No, they don’t always work. No, they are not always followed. This is when we have to think outside of the box and really try to function as a team: the case manager, school counselor and psychologist, speech therapist, teachers, and myself. Does it always work? No.

I have had to be the biggest advocate for him. This last school year felt like a complete failure. It seemed accommodations were not being used, he was completely failing several classes, and my requests were not being heard. What I kept hearing was, “This is how our school district does this”. What I kept saying was, “What your school district has always done doesn’t work for my son or our family. Let’s try something different.”

I still wasn’t heard. Until I pointed out the numerous ways they were out of compliance with his IEP. And that his rights were being violated under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). And that some of there actions demonstrated gross negligence. I didn’t want to pull out those big words. Or the fact that I consulted an attorney. Or have to pull out the Power of Attorney that I now have to continue to act on his behalf. I wanted to be a team player. But when it comes to protecting my son and his rights, I’m only going to be on his team.

We had a “team” meeting last week to address my concerns. There was no yelling, terse words, or tears. I was able to clearly communicate the frustrations and I felt like they listened. Little Victory. They realized they needed to change the format for one of his classes. Little Victory. Jacob was able to tell them what didn’t work and what he wanted to happen. Little Victory. They realized they could get him in the welding program that is inline with his after high school goals. Little Victory. The school district realized that, even though they have never done this for any student EVER, they need to transport Jacob to the welding program at another high school. HUGE VICTORY!!!

Jacob now attends his high school for three classes in the morning. He has lunch and some spare time to work on some additional graduation requirements. (we’re still working on the structure of this). Then a taxi picks him up, takes him to another high school for their welding program, and then takes him home. Yes, a taxi drives him right to our front door after school. I’m not sure yet if the taxi is the long-range plan for all year, but it’s a start. And for that I’m grateful.

A lot of these days of pushing and fighting have been incredibly overwhelming for me. I have felt small and unheard. I have felt completely alone. I have felt like I was failing my son. I have shed numerous tears and cried out to God for His direction and help.

On Jacob’s first day of the welding class this week he was put into a group of students and they were introducing themselves. One student saw Jacob’s shirt and asked if he went to CHIC this summer. Yes, he was in Tennessee for a huge conference for Christian teens. So was this student. Instant connection. God is in this. God is in this in a big way. God is continuing to bring about the little victories and surround Jacob with love and care. I’m so grateful for that. It gives me hope & confidence to continue pushing for what Jacob needs. I celebrate with joy and trust that God will continue to bring about the little victories.

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God Is…

galaxy-lights-milky-way-676-830x550I’ve had one of those “I’m done! Can’t handle this anymore!” kind of afternoons. I think I’ve complained to God for just about every possible thing I could think of today. Serious vent session with Him. I want to cry, stomp my feet, pound my fists on the floor, and not act very lady like.

I’m just tired. And sick. And worn out. Even though I was just on vacation last week (sorry for the lack of posts, btw) I’ve been fighting a sinus infection. It decided to be stronger than the first round of antibiotics. Now we’re playing a sort of Russian roulette with another class of antibiotics. I just tend to have the uncommon rare reactions, so I’m very leery of this one.

This afternoon went like this: I came home from some gatherings & was exhausted. The house was a disaster; kids haven’t done any chores all week. I laid down for a short rest to calm my head. Continually poked and prodded by kids, I opened my eyes to an Iphone shoved in my face,“do you remember this girl that you taught preschool to 9 years ago?!” Questions, demands, stomping feet, bad attitudes, short answers, long explanations of why they can’t do something, more demands, even worse attitudes, then a disaster in a simple social interaction. My face is visibly swollen and painful. And if I were to actually break down & cry, well, infection would get worse.  I feel stuck.

I’m done with this God. I’m not done with my kids or the work you’ve laid before me. I’m just exhausted and tired of doing this alone. My heart hurts tonight for my son who is continuing to struggle in areas. I want to give him more and I’m feeling at a complete loss. I’m just feeling very hopeless. In a lot of ways.

I’m leaning on you Jesus, because you’re my comforter. And you’re reminding me of the messages I got to be a part of earlier today. A continuing thread collectively declaring who GOD IS…

You are savior, You are victorious, You are soooo faithful, You are compassionate! God, you are ON the throne! You are RIGHT ON TIME! God is OUR BANNER – You go before us and declare our identity and are over us. You are provider, delightful and powerful. God you are redeemer and healer. You are before the beginning. You are the God of creativity, ideas and timely surprises! You are gracious. God you are near. God, you are love.

I declare all of these to You now. You bring me comfort and peace as I wait and trust in you. Provide me with patience, bring me healing, help me show others your love. This will be your victory. You alone get the glory. I trust you. I will follow you.

Blessed be the name of The Lord!

Amen