Today, Teresa and I met with teachers and support staff to discuss Christopher's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for next year and his transition from junior high to high school. I think we were both a bit apprehensive going in because we were afraid there would be an attempt to lock him into a path that would eliminate any possibility of pursuing a career in something he might be interested in.
For the first few minutes of the meeting, I felt my fears were going to be realized. There was a good deal of talk about socialization skills and the like, things the junior high program has worked with Christopher on for several years with little success. There has been little attempt, from our perspective, to see what he is capable of academically, and we were both afraid his entire life was going to be mapped out for him in this meeting. The roadmap we were envisioning eliminated any possibility of college and career.
Thankfully, the meeting went better than I initially though it would. I felt we were listened to and heard and that we were all in agreement that getting Christopher where he needs to go - socially and academically - will require some thinking outside the box. I thought some of the same things last year only to be a bit disappointed in the way things worked out, so the jury is still out.
However, I was encouraged to hear that Christopher has made some academic strides this year. The news on that front sounded much more positive this year. And when I mentioned that I still had hopes Christopher might one day be able to go to college, the idea was not dismissed or even downplayed. it was left out there as one of many possibilities for him.
What that tells me is that there is growing recognition and awareness on the part of all parties that no one yet knows what Christopher is or will be truly capable of. Personally, I still think deep down that the sky's the limit for him - as long as we don't place so many limits on him now that he can't even see the sky let alone reach for it. I came away from today's meeting with a sliver of hope that won't happen, and I'm going to hang onto it for all it's worth.