My son Caden has/had torticollis and wound up needing to wear a helmet for 3 months due to a flat spot on the back of his skull. This helmet was just for cosmetic issues but we felt it was necessary. Caden also needed physical therapy to help with the torticollis. He was not symmetrical in his gross motor skills. He entered physical therapy in June 2013 and continues therapy. Wearing the helmet set him back physically because of the weight of the helmet. Caden rolled over late, and struggled with weight baring on each side equally. He still isn’t crawling yet (10 months old), but he’s working on it!
It is important to note that I am a special education administrator (Team Chairperson). I run IEP’s (Individual Education Programs) meetings and our Team determines if a student has a disability and whether or not the student qualifies for special education. One would think that the hard conversations are surrounded by telling parents that there child has a disability. This is rarely the case. The more difficult conversation is telling the parents that there child no longer has a disability and as a result does not qualify for special education services.
You may ask WHY? Well special education is not what it used to be. IEPs are highly prevalent in classrooms and parents feel confident that their children are supported when they are on an IEP. So when the Team tells a parent there child will no longer be in IEP many parents begin to get nervous that their child may not do as well in school.
I bring up my job because at my son’s last PT session the Physical Therapist told me that she probably only needs to see him one more time. There was a part of me that freaked out a bit because although it is difficult getting him there late at night after a full day, I am always reassured that Caden is getting services and that an expert is watching over his development. It was then that I finally could relate to the parents who worry when their child doesn’t qualify for special education services. My son will have another PT session in three weeks and may possibly be discharged. As I always tell my parents, “An IEP is not a prison sentence; the goal is to come off the IEP and be able to implement the learned strategies independently”. I am an empathetic person and have always tried to put my feet in other people’s shoes. However, everything changes when you have a child. You really do understand where other people are coming from.
I know plenty of very successful people today who were on an IEP growing up as children. Anything is possible!