big decision

Two years ago, I went to school for Andy's IEP. They wanted me to switch Andy from Sunshine State Standards to Special Standards. That meant that Andy wouldn't have to take the FCAT but could take an easier to administer alternative assesment test. They would also focus on life skills like how to use money and how to read a map. I was shocked! I had no idea that Andy was dreading the FCAT. I was angry that they had assumed that I would agree to this without knowing anything ahead of time. I declined saying I needed time to think about it. I thought a lot about this and it felt like I would be agreeing to giving up on my child's education. "He can go to school until he's 22!" Then what? They had no answers and I don't think they even cared since he would no longer be their problem. Nice.

I expected it to come up again at his next IEP but it didn't. I had no intention of giving up on Andy. He just seemed too young to make such a huge decision. But I knew the day was comimg when I would have to decide.

Last fall, I was picking up one of the boys to go to the dentist, I saw Andy's teacher. She mentioned that she wanted to meet after the holidays and talk about Andy. Crud. I knew what this was meant and it made me sad. It makes me feel bad, like I didn't do enough for him. But this is selfish. I should do what is best for him not what will make me feel better. Even this logic didn't make me feel any less naseous.

A few weeks ago, the invitation came and I mentioned it to dad and asked if he wanted to come along. Yes, he would join me. Whew! Someone to support me and ask those questions I forget to ask.

The day came and dad could not join me but I had time to come to terms with the decision that had to be made. And the decision turned out not to be as awful as I had been told 2 years ago. Andy would still be learning the same cirriculum as the regular students but would be learning at his pace and with the help he needed. He would also be able to earn a regular diploma but could take his time doing it. I am feeling much more positive about his future.