Tag Archives: iep

Loving Little Man

Loving Little ManFear is a funny thing—and so are the emotions of a parent watching a child suffer.

I thought I had all the wonderful ingredients to be a special needs parent, as if it was some kind of recipe God puts together. Actually, I think that it is. You see, I was born a warrior. I have always been an advocate. I have never found myself to be fearful when confronting authority in the name of justice. When I see unfairness, my heart always screams, and my mouth is soon to follow.

On the flip side, I am deeply compassionate. That’s probably why I feel stirred to speak up for the downcast. I was one of the few students in junior high school who made a point to include and interact with a fellow youth group student with mental retardation. I saw her. I wanted her to know she mattered.

But then I had my own special needs child.

On the precipice of receiving diagnoses after reaching a significant crisis point, there are two choices in our flesh: a spiral into fear or a rapid bearing of fangs. In the beginning, separating those emotions is impossible. Wrapped up in all the pain are fierce anger, a sense of desperate protection, scary projections of what the future holds, and an overall desire to howl at the moon. When our children are touched so directly by the fall from perfection in the Garden of Eden, there is something so base, so animal, within us that wants to sit at the gate and beg the angel to let us back in the Garden and slam the doors shut again.

Within four months of his birth, my fair-skinned, redheaded little boy (Little Man) Read the rest of this entry »


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What I Learned at the IEP Roundtable

IEPRoundtableI’ll admit it. Part of me was terrified.

Sitting around the table with everyone who had assessed my child over the past few months, or in some cases—years—was intimidating.

What were they going to say? Were they going to kick him off the boat—not because they don’t want to help him—but because he ranked in need behind other kids when it came time to dividing up the special education pieces of the School Budget Pie?

I had come to find each of these specialists and staff members endearing in different ways. For better or worse, we had been contractually married for several years in the common cause of my son. We were linked, convenanted by legal documents and a mutual desire to help him.

But what if, once we got around that table, the budget dropped between the two sides of the table, dividing us abruptly in half like Moses parting the waters of the Red Sea? What if a former Ally in the Care of My Son now became a Defender of Policy, Keeper of the Budget?

Read the rest of this entry »


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What’s Really Behind the Things That Drive Us Nuts? [Excerpt]


Today, Espressos of Faith offers a fifth excerpt from Not Just on Sundays, due out this month. The book often features the smaller moments of life and what they can teach us if we zoom in to see what might really be going on—how God can be showing us something huge in the ordinary of the day.


Not giving a creative person the time, space, and materials to do his “art” is like slowly starving him from the inside out. I am trying to find that balance, and I am learning from my youngest guy. His hands are not the strongest, and his fine motor skills need to develop and be refined, but he sees himself as an artist as he shapes boxes with endless materials to create amazing treasures. I have to remember that although all of the assorted scraps I call “trash” (like Dum Dum wrappers) get under my skin after a while—when he stocks them up like a squirrel—he sees future masterpieces. What I like to think I see in words, he sees in everyday stuff around him.

Okay, Little Man, if you need a card table in the family room with endless junk on it and a used mailing box—and that keeps you from begging for more screen time—then have at it, Child! Can’t wait to see what you make. Maybe we should sell a few of those items at our lemonade stand this summer to afford storage for your recycling, er, I mean art studio.

That was a lovely story, wasn’t it?

I wish I could say my perspective looks that delightful and calm all of the time.

It doesn’t.

I occasionally rage. But it is an area I am turning over to God so He can help me find a way to bless instead of speak labels onto my children.

I’m not a big fan of any label. The label “ADHD” may help a child get the help he needs on an IEP, and within the context of a school system, that may be entirely appropriate and helpful, but I do not want to look at any of my children as limited by their weaknesses.

I don’t want to say: “You forever will have attention issues.”

I want to say: “It will be awesome to see how God uses all that phenomenal energy for creative works to bring Him honor someday and help people!”

But this takes daily praying through what may perplex me or drive me nuts and asking God for words that cancel out the:

“You never wills,”
“You always,” 
“You have to stop XYZ-ings”

that our kids hear every day.

Some of it is necessary. A lot of it is not. Here’s what it looks like when I ask my Father in heaven to give me words. (I won’t taint your minds with what it looks and sounds like when I don’t. You’re welcome.)

I was challenged this past weekend to speak to my kids more about their God-given gifts and abilities, how the Lord is shaping their hearts, and whom I see them growing to be. It builds on some of what I have already been doing, but I love saying:

“______, you have been given a tremendous heart for others, tender toward people and all of God’s creatures. You are sensitive to the hurts in others and respond with great compassion.”

Or “______, you have been given a warrior spirit to stand up for injustice and speak His Truth when He calls you to it.”

Or “________, you have a kind, gentle heart that speaks quiet strength, safety, and protection. You lead softly, with delightful humor and deep thought. You know His Word inside and out, and now may it go from your head to soak deeply into your heart.”

And, really, what’s actually behind the things that get under our skin is simply that: our own skin. We are just as annoying and frustrating at times. But we’re adults and have more authority to misuse or mishandle.

Or to bless.

James 3:9-12, James, brother of Jesus, speaking

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.


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