Why My Son’s IEP Goals Sometimes Make Me LOL


Anyone here ever look at IEP (individualized education programs) drafts and laugh at the goals?

No? Just me?

Now before you rip my head off, keep reading…

I don’t laugh because I think my son can’t do it. I laugh because half of these goals are on my shoulders, and I think, How the hell am I going to pull this off?

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I have to get my son to do these things. I home/cyber school him, so half the goals are geared towards his therapists, and the other half are geared towards what I have to work on with him.

“No more than two verbal prompts.” Do they KNOW my child?

“On-task behavior for 30 minutes at a time, 80 percent of the time.” With ADHD?

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I laugh over the ones about licking food — or even about eating it. I laugh because I’ve been trying to get him to do that for years. I’ve been puked on. I’ve had my dinner puked on. Just over getting him to try something new. Food aversions aren’t this easily overcome. I pray the new occupational therapist has a tarp or a parka to keep the puke off her nice work clothes.

Next up we have the self-care goals. These don’t make me laugh. They kind of make me sad. Liam will be 9 in May. He has tied his shoes once. It took a lot of tears to get there. Now he refuses because
“It’s too hard, and I just can’t do it, Mama!” He can’t button. Snapping is a struggle. Zippers? He can’t zip his coat either. If you start it, he can. But he can’t put his coat on and zip and snap it. These goals I pray the occupational therapist can pull off. I pray Liam will do his best for her and learn these tasks. I know it will make him feel so much better about himself. You can do it, baby! Mama knows you can!

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You know what Liam hates more than tying or zipping? Writing. His cyber school sent me the “Handwriting Without Tears” curriculum. That title is super deceiving. He had tears. I had tears. I
think the dog lying next to his desk even had tears, hearing her boy so distraught. Liam’s reversals and the mix of capitol and lowercase letters are quite bad. Thankfully the OT will be working with him on this. I don’t know how much more my heart can take. Watching your baby struggle day in and day out is hard. Home schooling is definitely not for the faint of heart.

There were a lot of other things in his IEP that broke my heart. For his privacy, I’m keeping that to ourselves. It’s hard to see in writing where your child falls short. It’s hard to swallow.

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So I guess, part of the reason I choose to laugh at some of these goals, is because other things in the IEP are hard for me to handle.

Then I step back. I look up from my writing, and I see a happy, handsome and fairly healthy little boy busy lining up his comic books and humming to himself. In that moment, I know that no matter where he falls short, no matter where he lacks, he’s happy, and he’s mine, and I love him more than life itself.

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