By Rosa Long
The Law of Relativity states that nothing is fundamentally good or bad…it just is. This reminds me of a quote that I hear often, “It is what it is.” Learning about this law really helped me see that I was on the right track about finding the blessing in all our challenges. I started, unknowingly, using this law early on when my children were only toddlers and they were diagnosed with Autism.
The challenges of raising two children that struggled with verbal communication as well as cognitive understanding was quite a challenge. Although our middle son, Javier, also struggled with behavior issues as a result, I found that dealing with the administrators of the various schools they attended were my biggest challenges I had to overcome.
Twenty-seven years ago Autism was just getting to be more common. They didn’t insist you move them into institutions like they had done twenty years prior to that time period. However, the education of how to teach this special population was at its infancy. The extremely low expectations that we saw coming from our IEP teams spoke volumes to that!
While sitting at Javier’s IEP one day in Delaware, I asked the IEP team when they were going to start educating my son. At that time, there had been no reading or math goals added to his IEP. Being new at these IEP meetings, I was not aware of the power I had as a parent and advocate of my children. I soon became aware, however, that without my signature on that IEP, they could not move forward and that is not good for the administrators who could get in trouble to hindering my son’s education. The answer I received from the psychologist on the team was returned as a question. He said, “Well, let me ask a question. Do we think Javier can learn to read?”
My eyes opened wide when I realized this team had lower expectations for my son. I was at level 10, they were at level 1. So, we compromised to start at level 5 because I was determined to see that they do what they went to school to do: educate my autistic child.
Attending massage school was a big help. I know you’re probably wondering what massage has to do with education. Well, through my massage training and education, I gained the understanding that our bodies are miracles from God. He does not make junk and they are capable of constant learning. They are also able to heal themselves when put in the right environment. This was the greatest ammunition I had to give me the courage to stand up to these people with letters behind their names.
Now I come full circle to finding the relativity to this challenge. I chose to attach a positive meaning to these experiences because I believe that all things are to our benefit and growth. I also believe that if I don’t receive it as a blessing and learn from it, it might just continue to happen until I do; and so, I learn quickly!
I am so blessed to have been put through these experiences for my growth and to better understand how to help others in similar situations.
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