Thursday, March 6, 2014

Every IEP is a little Lent

I'm sitting here, at the kitchen table, listening to Cole tell me how he hates pumpkin bread. He's speaking
Every IEP is a little Lent . . . and every
mild stone met a little Easter.
with a whine in his voice, indicating that he's tired. I know that once I pop him in the car this afternoon, he will fall right asleep... which is a problem, since it is his first day of speech therapy with our private SLP.

Today is also the day I got the rough draft for Cole's IEP. For me, it's more of a formality. I speak to the teachers and SLP on a regular basis, so none of the goals are particularly surprising. It's just so hard to see, in black and white, in clinical terms, how far behind my sweet bear is. In black and white, it tells me that my almost four year old speaks like a two year old. In black and white, it tells me that he is 80 per cent intelligible . . . if you know him and know the context. Most people cannot understand him at all.

In black and white, it says over and over and over again, "Motor planning is impacting him from . . ." and "Due to poor motor planning, he cannot . . ." He cannot speak. He cannot draw. He cannot color.

I know this. I knew this. But seeing it again was like a punch in my already-bruised stomach.

And then, it dawned on me. This is Lent. This IEP, this is our Lent.

We're at the beginning of Lent now. Cole's been examine and tested, just like we examine and test ourselves at the beginning of every Lent. Where is he strong? Let's keep on doing those awesome, strong things. Where is he weak? Where does he need to improve? Let's make measurable goals and work on those weak areas.

When Lent begins, we work on those areas in which we are weak. We give up our vices, add in more prayer. We sacrifice and offer up. At the end of all of this, at Easter, we hope to come out stronger, with good habits that have replaced the old. Less coffee, less sugar, less junk food; more prayer, more giving, more offering up.

During this IEP, we've set goals. We know the end result we want: a child who can draw and write and speak. During this Lent, we will work on those goals, praying and sacrificing (retirement fund? Who needs that?!) to get to them. When Cole can speak, write and draw, when he is able to funcation with his same age peers, we will have arrived at Easter.

But you know the awesome thing? Remember how every Sunday is a little Easter, a little time to remember and rejoice in the salvation of Christ? Every mild stone he reaches, every step forward he makes, is our little Sunday. It's our little Easter, a time to rejoice that all his hard work is paying off. When I hear him count, see him try to color or say a hard word correctly, we rejoice. We celebrate.

Because even in Lent, we have a little Easter.

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