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How My Son's IEP Could Keep Him From His Dream Career

Just a piece of paper.

It shouldn’t knock my anxiety levels out of the park. And yet it does.

Just a piece of paper planning out our son’s educational path for the rest of his secondary educational career.

Yes, there is the feeling of it being unreal that a child of mine would be starting high school next year, but that’s not what triggered me.

This paper is filled with lists of classes I would dearly love to see my son on the autism spectrum take, but if the last three years are any indication, Algebra, Chemistry, Biology, Spanish and more are not in his future. Yet these are the classes he is expected to take and pass in the next four years in order to graduate from high school. We live in a state that unless they meet all the requirements for a diploma, they will not be receiving one. Which is problematic for some children with IEPs.

My heart is filled with trepidation and stark fear as I envision the fights to get him to go to school if this is the path forward they have planned for him. He dearly wants to be a college professor of 16th to 18th-century history. I think he could be great at it, and this is the track he needs to take if he is going to realize this dream.

I look at all the other tracks they have laid out for students, but none of those are any more likely to bring less resistance to going to school and performing the work necessary to achieve those career paths.

As a mom who has been fighting for years for her child, trying not so much to make the way easier for him as to make it possible for him to gain an education, I’m quickly finding I am out of my depth. I don’t know what to advocate for anymore. I don’t know how to help him reach this next stage in life — independence.

And so my anxiety triggers. My Mama Bear instincts roar. And all I can do is pray we find a way through.

This story originally appeared on An Ordinary Mom.

Getty image by Romolo Tavani.