I always ask to for a draft of the IEP ahead of time, so I can process it and make requests. This year, I asked for a few more specific goals for occupational therapy, and emphasized that Max needed additional support with math, including homework that was more at his level.
I'm lucky that Max is at a school where his teachers and therapists truly want him to achieve his best. I'm also lucky that yesterday, his SKIL teacher started the discussion (Max came in later). SKIL stands for Seeking Knowledge for Independent Living, and it's the class where Max is exploring different types of tasks that could someday lead to a job. "He's just a nice young man to be around," she said, mentioning how pleasant Max was. She also noted that he had fierce determination, and would try again and again to get a task right.
The news was that he was doing a pretty great job of copying and collating, and checking off what had been delivered to classrooms. He sometimes struggled to hold a clipboard and write on it, but he refused help with that and basically everything, insisting that he wanted to do it himself. The principal jumped in to tell a story about the time he spotted Max shooting hoops during an evening program. Max kept going and going, missing the basket. He suggested that Max take a break so his arms wouldn't get tired. But, nope—Max kept at it until he scored.
The SKIL teacher knows that I have a fair amount of anxiety about what the future holds for Max, and the type of work he might someday do. And she looked at me and said, in the most reassuring way, "You don't have anything to worry about." She noted that Max would eventually find a job match that would be right for him. His sunniness and determination would serve him well. This woman, who has decades of experience, had all the confidence that Max would find his groove.
Now, I know logically that things will work out for Max one way or the other, as they always have. And I am fully aware that he has strengths that would be an asset for many types of employment.
"You don't have anything to worry about."
I really just needed to hear that.
She congratulated me on parenting Max right. And I was all, "This is how Max has always been. I can't take credit."
I felt happy for the rest of the IEP, even though a few bits still need to be worked out. And I will, of course, continue to have the occasional freakout about Max's future. But those words will be with me.