Skill Set –

At Thorin’s most recent IEP or what I like to think of as the meeting I do not want to Lose-My-Shit-At-Meeting we learned something important.

But first a word about how messed up IEPs are:

IEP’s are not natural. Even facilitated by the most gifted of professionals it is basically a lot of smack talk about your kid. You sit in a room with anywhere from 6 – 12 professionals who are telling you what your kid cannot do. The process goes against every parental instinct to shield your child from criticism, judgment and inspection. *

For your part you interject all the great things that make up your kid – to counteract the messenging – and fight to get everything you can from the system so your kid succeeds.  (Think any conversation between President  Obama and  Xi Jinping on the subject of ‘lending’.)

It should be mandatory for all personnel to go through the process from the parent’s perspective before you can participate in one yourself. If you do not have a child you would be the subject of the IEP unless you were ‘a crazy cat lady’ then it would be a your cat everyone would say mean things about.

In the spirit of saying something nice about Thorin one of the professionals present at the IEP said, “Thorin is such a happy kid. During recess the kids in his class lined up and each took a turn swinging across the monkey bars. He wasn’t able to do that of course that but he stood there clapping and cheering for each one as they went through.”

Why did she have to use the word “happy”? It’s a trigger word for me. Maybe in the same way African–American parents could do without hearing how their kids are “great dancers” or “good athletes” particularly when you want them learning math.

My next thought was “happy” doesn’t begin to cover what Thorin did.

I shared my perspective, “I don’t think “happy” is the right word. That’s ego-less-ness (How often do you get to bust that word out?). That is pretty advanced social behavior. Seriously, how many of us could cheer on twenty-two other peers in anything that you yourself could not participate in?”

The answer was, “No one.” Very good, now put ‘happy’ in your back pocket.

What I wanted to add is, “That’s a G-D TED Talk, People!” or “Brene Brown could poop out a whole book on that.”

I am happy Thorin can celebrate the accomplishments of others with genuine and authentic enthusiasm. I am also proud of him for having that particular skill.

“Does it mean I can attribute it to Down syndrome?”

“I don’t know. “

“Is it genetic?”

“Must be some of that, right?”

“Nurture?”

“Highly fucking unlikely.”

“Is it a gift bestowed by the God of Thunder Thor?”

“Oh, I like that very much. “

*For those not in the know 6 year-old children do not attend these meetings therefore Thorin was not present.

This entry was posted in Adopting, By Notatypicalmom, Down syndrome, education, Inclusion, Parenting, Special Needs and tagged , , , by Kari Wagner-Peck. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kari Wagner-Peck

Kari Wagner-Peck lives with her husband and son in Maine. She is a writer & storyteller who home schools with her son. She has a M.S.W. and has been at various times a practicing social worker, documentary videographer, film festival director and retail clerk. She is the author of Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey, May, 2017, Central Recovery Press. She has been published at The New York Times Well Family blog, The Huffington Post, The The Good Men Project, The Sydney Morning Herald Daily Life blog, BLOOM and Love That Max among others. Author page: kariwagnerpeck.com Twitter @KariWagnerPeck and Facebook: www.facebook.com/NotAlwaysHappyLive/ Email: kariwagnerpeck@gmail.com

6 thoughts on “Skill Set –

  1. Ego-less-ness, exactly. I want to like this post to about the 9th degree, fantastic. I loathe the IEP, I throw up in my mouth when someone brings up the “happy” relation, and I’m tempted to whip up a TED talk on all this shit. Well it’d probably need to be TEDx…

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