Who's mom cried during an IEP meeting yesterday? R's mom! Yep, that's right- that would be me. R just turned 3, so he is moving from Early Intervention/Help Me Grow into the school district (he is already part of the preschool program there, it's just a "technicality" now that he is 3). So, during the last three weeks, they have been conducting a bunch of assessments and yesterday I received the results of said assessments.
R's teacher started talking and I pretty much lost it. I was staring at a paper of percentiles and developmental ages and my heart sunk. It sinks every time I have to go through something like this. There is just something about seeing these results on paper and having someone speak them out loud. Severe. In just about every category, my son fell in the "severe" range. This shouldn't be a surprise to me- when he was first diagnosed in January of 2011, he was diagnosed as "severe". He was re-evaluated just a few months ago as "severe". Now the school is saying "severe".
A year ago, all I could focus on were the numbers, percentiles, labels, and comparisons; Autism masked the image of my son in the months following his diagnosis. The days and months following the diagnosis were a struggle. It was hard to find the "good" in all of this, and I held a lot of anger inside.
There came a point in time where I embraced the diagnosis. I started believing this wasn't a life sentence for R. Now, I am able to focus on R just as he is. Rejoicing in the progress he has made. Hopeful for his bright future, and ready to take on another day. Living in gratitude that he is happy, and (for the most part) healthy.
I am so proud of R and the progress he has made. He has the light back in his eyes after being lost for so long. The comparisons, percentiles, and labels do not define him, and they never will.
I will not allow comparison to steal my joy.