Joshua's Story

Josh2My story starts with my son, Joshua. The second year of his life Joshua was still undiagnosed with any disease until the day we had a 45 minute seizure that almost ended his life. It was at this time Joshua was disgnosed with C.P., Lebers, small kidneys, small brain seizure disorder, and heart problems. All the diagnoses were severe to profound that led the doctors at Riley Hospital to announce that Joshua would probably not live to see his fifth birthday. Joshua was born in 1981 and his sister, Jennifer, was born in 1984 with the same diagnosis but without the heart problems.

The 80's were spent in hospitals in what became an emotional roller coaster. I remember as a husband, I had to be very strong emotionally for my wife in the hospital. Nights went by, as well as day times, where I would hold my wife in my arms, with tears coming from her eyes not knowing what to say to comfort her. Just being there seemed to be the key to comfort it appeared. The days and nights were very long not knowing if this was Joshua's last days on earth. I do remember I had non one to comfort me as a father. This is where a pluralistic amount of decisions had to be made and emotions became very real and apparent to ruin me and survived the decisions that were made by me his second year of life and is stronger and living life at the fullest.

But I want to talk about the emotions that can lead to the downfall of your child while going through an IEP for your child. Emotions, for me, are a real part of life when I see things in a classroom go awry in my point of view. With many hours and people attending my son's IEP and later finding the IEP not being implemented in the classroom, my emotions did take over. Many years went by being bitter and angry. These emotions only drive teachers away and people who can help your child. As I look over the past I could have handled all those times I felt the emotions of bitterness and anger in a better way. As I speak for my son and daughter, and as a father, there is a better way.
    
Check your emotions before the IEP and before you visit the classroom. Before the IEP starts ask if you can address the IEP committee with your concerns and where you would like to see your child going during the year. Make sure you are ready. Bring friends or someone that's on your side to make you feel comfortable in case the IEP goes sour so they can calm you down.

Please recognize that your teacher has a hard job and money may be just the reason why you can't get everything your child needs. Recognize your teacher as a support instead of the problem. School districts are short of money to carry out what our children need in my opinion. The days I visited the classrooms for my children were not positive ones. There was never a time it seemed the IEP was being followed but yet I was asked to be positive. Whether or not you are positive about the implementation of your child's progress with the IEP. Please do all that you can to change your outlook if you fall into a pit of anger with no support. There is support. There are many organizations that will help. I encourage you to seek them out for your child's success.