I got this photo today from Sophie's teacher with the following email:
After a very long walk, a community trip and a cooking lesson, Sophie is just plain sacked out!
Sometimes I worry about Sophie at school -- well -- not sometimes, but more like nearly all the time. We parents of children who are non-verbal and/or completely defenseless in a myriad of ways take a certain leap of faith -- some might call it insane -- when we drop them off for six to eight hours with strangers or entrust them to school-assigned nurses and aides. While I've actually learned to at least understand the merits of the medieval chastity belt, I do believe Sophie to be safe at school, and I know that her teacher and aides do a bang-up job teaching and caring for a diverse group of special education students. My expectations for the gigantic morass that is the Los Angeles Unified School District are definitely zilch, though, and I've long let go of the legalese in Sophie's IEP, even caring whether or not her "goals" are being reached. There's only so many years when learning to feed oneself with maximum assistance is something for which to fight tooth and nail. What I'm grateful for, though, are these snippets of her life there that her teacher periodically sends me. They reassure me that Sophie has a life at school that is rich with activities and friendships and care.
Tomorrow, I'll be attending a workshop on conservator/guardian issues. Sophie will be eighteen years old in March -- good lord! -- and it's time for her to go out on her own and make her way in the world.
Just teasing. I'll no doubt learn about how to become her guardian without exploiting her rights as a human being. Stay tuned for what I imagine will be some Monty Pythonish moments as I navigate yet another system. I'll end here with a clip from a movie that my friend Jeneva recently posted on her FB page in anticipation of her son's IEP. I think it pertains to the parents' perspective dealing with any of the systems we encounter (insurance, medical, education, social, etc.). And it made me laugh out loud.