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After the meeting, we all came home, had some lunch, played in the backyard, watched the refrigerator repairman shake his head discouragingly, paid for that head shaking with the for-emergencies-only credit card, and put the boys down for naps. Jason left to spend a couple hours at his office. I called my mom.

I was okay until I got to the part about the bus.

Kids who attend our school district's preschool program can ride the bus. A special bus, just for them, that comes right to your house, with car seats and an aide, and... It's... You know, short.

I stumbled over the word, laughed a little, and started crying.


Our district actually has quite few preschool programs -- varying attendance, class sizes and levels of need. Early Intervention assured us that Noah would never qualify for any of them. When I called our former case manager this past winter in a full-scale HOLY FUCKING SHIT THEY'RE GOING TO EXPEL HIM FROM PRESCHOOL WHAT IS WRONG WITH EVERYBODY freak-out, she quickly managed to talk me back off the ledge and reiterated her belief that Noah would not qualify. At the most, he'd "maybe" get itinerant services, which is basically just some poor overworked special education teacher poking her head into your child's classroom a couple times a year to make sure he's not scaling the walls and setting the hamsters on fire.

Beyond that, there are three levels of actual preschool programs that a kid like Noah might attend. For simplicity's sake, we'll call them:

Two-Days-A-Week 'Tis A Flesh Wound

Five-Days-A-Week The Full Monty

Five-Days-A-Week Okay, We're Fucking Serious Here, Your Kid Is Kind Of A Mess

I figured we were talking 'Tis A Flesh Wound. In fact, I was counting on it, and had already preemptively complained to more than one person about how two days a week was going to be such a PAIN, because it meant we'd still need to find something for the rest of the week because of my JOB and STUFF and WHATEVER. I'm...just such an ass sometimes.

The choices laid out for us yesterday included The Full Monty and...the other one, the last one. I think my initial response was something that could only be phonetically described as a squeak.

After some back and forth, the general consensus was that Noah is better suited for The Full Monty plus some weekly one-on-one therapy, although the occupational therapist did not seem entirely convinced. It's two and a half hours every day, in the afternoon, as if designed for parents who would like to keep up appearances by enrolling their child in a typical morning program.

Oh yes, Junior attends Hoity Toity Pants Quadralingual School. It's lovely.  What's that? A playdate this afternoon?

<eyes dart around in a panic>


Technically, Noah could still attend Montessori in the morning. Huh. I have not decided whether to ask for my deposit back yet, though I sure could use it to fix my goddamn refrigerator.

The rush of fast and furious and conflicting emotions at these things, well. GOD, is all I can say. I was relieved to hear that they agreed with me, that they Saw It Too, that Jason and I were right after all. But oh, what a bittersweet victory it is, especially when "it" means someone looking you in the eye and saying the words "educational disability' out loud. Then you're all, "Fuck you."

But not really. I liked our IEP team members, I felt their concern was genuine, their determination not to let Noah fall through the cracks (AGAIN) was admirable and The System was working like it's supposed to and all that. They took our concerns and descriptions of Noah's behavior seriously, they understood that a meltdown at a playground is different for us, that it's not the kind of meltdown *your kid* has, no  it's just NOT, that it's like someone set our child on FIRE, that there's no redirecting or soothing, there is only FLEEING. They understood and sympathized that life with such a rigid-thinking, inflexible, easily-overwhelmed preschooler is tiring, draining and that we negotiate with him from morning til night over everything from socks to food to which direction the car is driving.

It felt good to say all that stuff out loud, finally. To let my shoulders slump and admit defeat, that I just don't know how to help him anymore, and that I'm sick of his issues slowly taking over more and more and more of our daily lives.

And then I saw Noah playing quietly on the other side of the room, lining up some dinosaurs, still the perfect chubby-cheeked baby they handed me in the hospital, still one of the best things that's ever happened to me, still one of my favorite people in the entire world. I snapped my shoulders back to attention and asked that they add more social skill measurements to the IEP goals.


I am so beyond angry with Early Intervention right now I could almost hit "send" on any of the very screechy indignant emails I've composed. We shouldn't have graduated. Noah should have transitioned to the district a year ago. We shouldn't have had to endure this crappy, confusing mess of a school year on our own; it shouldn't have taken this long to get back into the system. Advice to anyone currently in the under-three EI world out there: Do. Not. Let. Them. Graduate. You. Do not let them make you feel guilty for taking up a space in a class or a therapist's appointment slot. Do not agree to end services without an official transition process at three years old. Do not let them tell you what the results of that process will "probably" or even "likely" be. Get the results yourself. Show them EXACTLY who your toddler gets his stubborn streak from.


After it was all over, the occupational therapist pushed a piece of paper towards me and handed me a pen. Signing would make it official. I picked up the pen and my hand shook. The words blurred and I suddenly felt overwhelmingly nauseated.

Jason commented that he was pretty sure Ezra pooped. I immediately volunteered for diaper duty and shoved the forms at Jason before bolting from the room. I couldn't do it. I didn't necessarily need more time to think about it -- I knew this was the right decision for us, I was happy with the recommendations and the goals. I think we got pretty much the best possible outcome. Nothing will even happen until next fall, anyway, as we all agreed it's best to allow Noah to finish out the final weeks of the school year as planned. There will likely be more decisions and appointments and hurdles and questions this summer. An IEP means there is accountability, legal protection, help. Noah needs this, he does, and there is no shame in that need and he will be even more extraordinary one day because we addressed that need.

But I still couldn't bring myself to be the one to sign the paper. I don't know why.




Oh I'm crying for you, in celebration of getting the answers and in sorrow and someone having to sign for them. He is such a beautiful, wonderful, special boy. We just got the "your new baby might have down syndrome test" and I just keep thinking about how well you've handled Noah and surely we'll be able to handle this, too. You're doing a great job.


I'm so sorry that you have had to work so hard to get Noah the help he needs. But I have to say, if ever I or anyone I know needed someone in our corner, I'd certainly want it to be you. You've known all along that something wasn't right and you wouldn't let it go. Kudos to you for being so persistent. While I know it all feels overwhelming I know (and so do you) that in the end Noah will be happier and healthier. Now, go hug that sweet boy (and keep the pictures coming!).


I am a teacher and I just want you to know how well you are handling all this. It must be so hard for you, but your support and cooperation combined with a good school team makes all the difference. I get students whose needs aren't addressed until kindergarden often through a combination of parental denial or the system not working. It must be heartbreaking for you to go through this, but Noah is going to thrive in school. Plese know that you are not alone. He now has a whole team of school people looking out for him at school.


as a kid, i always thought bubbles were especially magical too. sorry it's been such a battle. noah is lucky to have you as a mama.


Yeah. I know.

This is good, you know it, I know it...but the confirmation that something is wrong just feels so final and world-rocking.

We've had the best year with KayTar in 5 day a week PPCD...next year she is going to the Smarty-Pants Weird Kids transitional class even! This is going to change things in a good way for you guys.


This is not your fault. Repeat that 10 times, this is not your fault. And signing that paper is not admitting guilt.

I'm not saying that is not why you wouldn't sign, but it could be a reason. And you should tell I & T. Or I can. They need to know.


I'm just wondering when Noah moves into his freshman dorm at his awesome college & makes a million new friends and doesn't have time to call his Mama and tell her how he appreciated her teaching him how to separate his laundry if you'll invite The Internet People over for cocktails & finger food? If for no other reason than to toast to you & Jason who are so totally going to bat for your kid even when it is unpleasant? Noah is awesome and will continue to blossom in his new, individual program.

(But you probably shouldn't invite all of the The Internet People over becuase some of them are a bit snarky & mean. But I think those ones probably won't come as such a shindig would be way too much fun for sad souls like themselves.)


It is, indeed, a bittersweet victory.


Oh my, your posts about Noah just break my heart... they break it right open and all this love for ya'll spills out. I think back to my elementary school years and I remember the "trouble kids", kids who were bright and funny, but seemed to struggle anyway. I'm so glad these programs exist to help kids nowadays! Noah is a gem, so darling, so smart, and I'm sorry this has been such an uphill battle. But how wonderful that he is going to be JUST FINE, how wonderful that what you're doing now will make those elementary and middle and high school years so much better for him.

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com

One time I saw a trailer that was painted all yellow. On the front and sides, it said "The short bus." My husband and I whipped out the camera, and then when we saw them pull into a gas station, we did too and then walked over a few gas pumps to ask what the story was.

The guy said that when he was a kid, he got teased relentlessly because his brother rode the short bus to school. And when he was older, all he wanted to do was show people that it wasn't a big deal, that you could be totally normal. So he bought a trailer and painted it yellow and had the basic goal of disproving the stigma of riding the short bus. Here, he said, look. I ride the short bus every single day, and I think I'm pretty damned normal, don't you?

I know it doesn't help and it doesn't make things better, but I hope it at least brings a smile to your face. It always makes me smile.

And if you want, I'll even send you the picture =)


That bit in there, where you straightened your shoulders and asked for more social skills goals, that's the part that shows what a good momma you are. You are making sure your wonderful son gets whatever help he needs. Good for you.


I had a similar feeling when I found out my knee, which had been hurting forever, was confirmed to be fucked up, would need more surgery and would never be quite "right". It's defeating in one second but hopeful the next -- as in, finally, someone is going to help.

Hang in there!


No no no! Wait a sec. "To let my shoulders slump and admit defeat, that I just don't know how to help him anymore" That's not true.

You are totally helping him. Not defeat! You've called in the reinforcements. Go team!!


I read a book several years ago called "Better Late Than Early" about some kids who thrive better in school when they are enrolled around ages 8 or 9 as opposed to 4 or 5. Many of these kids tend to be male, for whatever reason. We ask little boys who are basically tornadoes on crack to sit still, be quiet, and learn JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, dangit, or we will label you as different, strange and wrong.

Your story got me to thinking about how you and Jason now are making sure that Noah is going to have an awesome school life because of the steps you are taking. You saw in Noah not a PROBLEM but a DIFFERENCE and recognized that the standard, normal, vanilla way we deal with kids in the education system is not gonna work here. By recognizing that difference and making sure that he is taught in a way that will make sense to him and not freak him out, you are ensuring that he will thrive scholastically and socially in the future.

Sorry for the War and Peace comment. I would totally bring you some cookies if I lived near you.


*nods head*

I understand completely. And I'm sorry.


I learned some of the best songs on the short bus. "COMET, it makes your teeth turn green. COMET it tastes like gasoline."

In all seriousness, I think most kids could benefit from an IEP. I have good feelings that Noah is gonna be a very productive and happy member of society, thanks to you and the IEP staff.


So glad this part is overwith. You did the right thing. He's a beautiful boy who has mamas all over the innernets cheering for him right now.

Good job, mama. You're doing right by this wonderful child.


My husband teaches kids like yours, only ten years later. He read your IEP blog yesterday, then went back and read a little about Noah, shook his head, and said, "If my kids' parents got involved this deeply and this early, I would have no one to teach."

Here's the thing: he's not a special ed teacher, he's got classes of what they call "multi-level learners." The upshot is that they have varying degrees of challenges and lots of them have spent most of their education transitioning in and out of "special" classes--sometimes they need it, sometimes they don't. Some of them rode the short bus. Some of them still do. But they're okay. They're good kids. They have victories and setbacks and they graduate from high school and the majority of them go to college and do fine.

Ten years from right now, he'll be reading "Romeo and Juliet" and taking the Maryland HSA's and talking on the phone to some dirty little freshman girl who gives you the heebies for no good reason, just like my husband's students. And in between, he'll be your sweet boy. No report or early intervention specialist or anybody else can change that.

Account Deleted

Must you always make me cry?

Seriously, I empathize with how you feel. "They" graduated my son out of EI and he attended a "regular" nursery school this year. Which he will also attend next year, as his teachers "strongly cautioned" us against sending him to kindergarten with the rest of his age group. Would this have happened if we had transitioned to the school system instead? Maybe. Do I think it would have? Not at all. Anger and frustration with EI is so familiar that I read this post nodding through the tears. You are doing a great job with the most difficult job in the world, and I thank you for sharing it with us.


The part about admitting that you don't know how to help anymore? You're wrong. You help by persisting as his advocate - and you are a part of that IEP team. No IEP is implemented without a parent's signature on that form. Because you are a part of it.

And the part about accountability? Is huge. My 1st grader has been on an IEP for transitional/social issues since age 3 as well. They talked about getting him off the IEP this year and I panicked - yay! he's really getting better, but shit! no one will be legally charged with keeping a special eye on him anymore. Our district has been a godsend for George - and I hope that yours is for Noah.

Chin up! There will be more tears for sure - but you've got a great, great child - and he's got great parents. (And a delicious baby brother!)


I would totally recommend Montessori for him! Especially if he has difficulties with group activities, and plays wonderfully on his own. I was the exact same way when I was little and I thrived in the Montessori environment, working at your own pace, I was actually ahead of the class and spent the rest of the time drawing and doing my own thing. Nowadays I would have been diagnosed with ADD. Definitely give Montessori a try first!

I used to teach preschool too, and my personal opinion is that preschool in the US is way overrated. Seriously, most kids in Europe don't go to school at all until they are 6. But, if you don't sign your kid up in the womb here, you might not get in a decent elementary school. I would visit all the Montessori schools in your neighborhood, and bring Noah and see which teachers you like best and then give that a try. Montessori adapts teaching to the way your child learns, tactile, visual, etc.. and tunes in to each child's approach to learning and exploring. Its a much more independant way of learning.


You are such an awesome parent, because you didn't let it go. You kept fighting for your kid, kept being the squeaky wheel. I told several parents to do that when I was teaching. Off the record, of course. I couldn't really say that on the record without getting in trouble, but when I knew their kids needed help, I encouraged them to keep pushing. You were the squeaky wheel, your child's advocate and good for you. He WILL do better, WILL be successful, WILL come out the other side of this because of YOU. You rock.


It's really good if you like the IEP team. But also remember that you have some say in its make-up. After meeting the head of our district's autism team, I got her involved in my son's IEP team, even though he still doesn't have an official diagnosis. But I like her, she has useful things to say, and she's willing to talk with me any time I have a question.

Our big goal this year (kindergarten) was to make sure that our son had a positive experience so that we wouldn't be setting the stage for years of hating school. Since we had an IEP in place before school even started in the fall, I felt like we had our resources lined up and ready to go. It's great to be getting things organized now when you still have a couple years to tweak the program.


Beating yourself up over the could'a, should'a, would'as isn't productive. He's young, you're doing what needs to be done now. You're not sticking your head in the sand denying and hoping for the best. It takes time and effort. It's hard. Parenting is hard. and if anyone gives you funny looks for not being able to make play dates call it an enrichment program.

When we get pregnant we think we know the kind of parents we're going to be, the kind of children we'll raise. and God laughs.

Your battles are probably helping countless other parents coming along behind you to recognize similar symptoms in their own children and find their voice when it comes time to fight for their children.

Keep fighting. Keep sharing. Keep helping. I'll keep praying for you and your beautiful family.


Long time lurker... But this post brought up a whole range of emotions. I never had a diagnosis, but I grew up with a range of sensory and social.. ahem.. issues. I had an IEP in The System from the time I was about Noah's age until I graduated from high school. Then I went to college. Then I went to graduate school. Middle school and high school were difficult, but middle school and high school are difficult for everyone - not just the kids who are "socially overwhelmed by their peer group." I adjusted more in college. Anyway, I don't mean to give you my Whole. Life. Story., because goodness, you're still at the beginning of the journey. But I wanted to offer you some encouragement. Keep fighting for your kid, which is exactly what you're doing. After all, you know him better than any OT or teacher, and you are his biggest advocate. It'll all be worth it. Trust me.


Hi, Amy.. I'm a long time reader first time commenter... but I just wanted to let you know how happy I am for you and your family that you finally have the help your Noah needs to go in the right direction. He seems like such a wonderful, amazing little man and anyone that reads your blog can see how much you love him. Stay strong through all of this and know that Noah (and you, Ezra, and Jason) have an army of cheerleaders behind him, rooting him on.

bad penguin

You're doing the absolute best thing you can do for Noah, I'm sure of it. My brother is brilliant -- smarter than I am, but don't tell him I said so -- and has a learning disability. My poor mom tried and tried to get him help over the years, but they just didn't have these kinds of services then. As a result, he was expelled from 3rd grade and always, always struggled in school. He was smart, so he got into magnet programs, but then he'd run into trouble over and over again. He's fine now, but I wish those years hadn't been so hard for him, and you're helping Noah avoid that.


Hi there. I've been lurking and reading and I just wanted to take a moment and say that while everything seems scary and overwhelming at the moment, it does get better. I know. I've been there.

In September of 2007 my 3 y.o. daughter started preschool. It soon became obvious that my quirky, stubborn girl wasn't just immature like I thought. Comparing her to her peers, it was obvious there was a problem. I'd drop her off at 9:00 and by 10 I'd get a call, "We're having a non-compliant day. Please come get her."

That December we were able to have her evaluated by the Autism team at the local children's hospital. She was diagnosed with high functioning Asperger's as well as some sensory issues. That afternoon, I submitted my letter to the school district asking for help. The processed moved slower then I would have liked, but in March of 2008, she started the 5 day Full Monty program with an added side of yeah, it's pretty serious summer school.

It was hard to watch her ride off in the short bus that first morning but it got easier over time. Especially when my daughter, who would cry when I brought her to preschool, would race out all eager to get on the bus and go her new school.

In September 2008 she started kindergarten in a special needs class. This spring they started sending her to a mainstream class every day for circle time because she's been doing so well.

She's changed so much in the last eighteen months. She's still my quirky, silly little girl but it's obvious that she's much happier in an environment that's designed to cater to what she needs while still challenging her to learn. For me, that constant tension I dealt with, worrying when the next meltdown would happen, is gone.

Good luck. I wish you all the best.


Your blog is what motivated me to fight to stay in our current program after EI. We won and I too hated to sign those forms...but Noah's story stayed in my head and I knew it would be our story too if I didn't fight. These professionals all want to help our kids but they aren't their moms. We are the only true advocates who want what is best for our kids. Thank you for posting about all of this and for giving other moms the strength and solidarity to push through this crazy process. You are an awesome mom. I'm proud of you.


I just wanted to say you are doing an excellent job!

Sprite's Keeper

While this may be bittersweet now, just keep picturing the progress and the results you want out of this. This is the turning point. He'll do great!


I know. I really do. I'm so sorry that it's so rough, and I'm so sorry that pounding on EI people wouldn't be productive. I learned all these lessons with my oldest, too... Those people who sound so sure about what will happen if you try this or that, don't know anything.

And, btw, in our district all the preschoolers, "special" or not, ride the short bus if they attend public preschool and don't walk or carpool, so no one stands out that way. It's the only kind with booster seats. I know that wasn't even nearly the point of your post but I know it made me feel better to know that.

shriek house

I totally understand why you couldn't sign the papers, even knowing it is the right thing to do for your child... Even as you celebrate what an amazing, wonderful boy he is, and cherish every moment that he's a part of your life, there is also grief for this harder road he must travel, and you with him. It's ok to mourn the loss -- or lessening -- of "normalcy", don't deny grief it's place in your heart. Sending you & family lots of internetty luv.

Amy Bledsoe

This is just a new beginning for Noah, and he's so lucky to have you fighting for him. I'm sorry you have to go through this, but thanks for sharing your strength for the rest of us.


I'm at the beginning of our EI journey with my 2YO daughter. You inspire me to keep plugging away at whatever at-home therapy-type activities are assigned to us because it's, you know, good for the kiddo.

Thank you. *hug*


Long time reader, never commented because 'eh, I'm easily intimidated by the whole "she is a superblogger I am nothing" thing...I'm doing all this stuff, have been doing it since my son was 2 (is now 6)...involved in a big fight with the schools, hired an advocate, want to shoot someone mess...all I can tell you are doing a great job, even though it NEVER feels like it, hire an advocate if you can, educate yourself on Special Education law (Wrightslaw is good). You ARE you child's best advocate.


you are a good mom.




Broken-hearted yet thrilled for him at the same time.


Noah is a lucky boy to have parents as amazing and caring as you and Jason. Keep your chin up.

Ashley Fitting

Hang in there and know that the creepy internet lurkers out there (<<- points to herself) are here to support you :-). For whatever its worth.



Amy,this poem has always helped me when I feel sad about my son who has ad/hd...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo David, the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland?" I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy.

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to some horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy a new guidebook. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around, and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips, Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

The pain of that will never, ever, go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

Written by Emily Perl Kingsley


As someone who is regularly part of an IEP team, I want to thank you for your honesty about yesterday's experience. As the "professionals" on the team it's easy for us to forget how huge of an impact our words and our recommendations have on the parents, especially those hearing it for the first time. It's part of our daily routine at work, so we sometimes lose perspective on how YOU must be taking in all this information.

Thank you for reminding me to look past all the technical stuff and remember to connect on a personal level too. In the end, you are the expert when it comes to your child. I applaud you for fighting for him and wish nothing but the best outcome for all of you.

Hairy Farmer Family

You can't see me or hear me, but I am actually holding your hand reeeeeeeallly fucking tightly. In, you know, a virtual and non-creepy supportive manner.


Well done. You have done everything that needs to be done at this stage and more. Noah is happy and delicious and he will be so no matter what. Best of luck to you. Take a break, have some nice food, nice wine, chill. You rock mamabear!


Noah is so very lucky to have you doing this all for him. And you are so very lucky to have such a sweet boy. I want to invite you all over to play...

Ok, the kids can play, we can drink and talk about how on earth you're supposed to get 3 year old boys to wear some God damn pants already.

He needs this Amy. It may take time to find out exactly what's going to work, but you won't find it without trying. Good job today Mommy.

Now pour yourself some wine.


Thank you for making sure that Noah gets the right kind of help. That he is going to be heard and understood and for giving him every chance. When I was a kid people didn't think about this stuff the same way. Hiding under my desk to say my ABC's and being content to sit on a pole every recess every day were just considered eccentricities that made me who I was. And they were, but they were also something else. They were an issue that made everything else a little harder for me as I grew up because no one knew to intervene. There were times where my parents knew something just wasn't right but counselors and educators weren't trained the same way and I always went away with a diagnoses like "she needs to smile less and let her anger out more and then she'll quit having meltdowns" but I didn't know how. So just thank you for seeing Noah and for understanding Noah and for letting people like me know that it's not going to be the way it was for me always. Thank you.


Oh, Amy. [Blinks tears.] You're so great to do this, to be there for him every step of the way, and to document it for us idiots out here on the Other Side.


You are doing exactly the right thing. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Quick re-frame here - if Noah needed glasses, to correct his vision, there'd be way fewer feelings of badness. Sure, he might always have poor vision but with the glasses he'd be able to see pretty well. Same thing with an IEP - Noah is an awesome kid who just needs some "corrective lenses" to help him with his sensory issues and social skills. That's what the program will do, provide him with those lenses and teach him how to use his new vision to do even more awesome things. Good for you for fighting for him.


I am so happy to hear that he will be in a situation that sounds very helpful to his needs. This is a very good thing, a very very good thing.

Parsing Nonsense

I'm so glad you're writing this, I'd wager the GDP of a third world country that there are a lot of people who feel very encouraged to know that they're not going through all this alone. That there are others who have gone before them.


Some days it is SO HARD to be a mom, isn't it? You need to remind yourself you are doing everything possible so that your son has a good educational experience...it is what everyone deserves. You are a good and caring mom


That made me cry in that way when you're watching a movie, and you know that there will be a happy ending, but you have to get through the difficult, and hard, and painful parts of the movie to get to the happy. But you WILL get there.

My two youngest cousins have issues that are as yet partly undiagnosed, but they sound similar to Noah's. But they are lovable, sweet, charming, friendly little boys. They may be difficult at times (ie trying to get them to do something they aren't used too, or trying to get the youngest to eat ANYTHING besides pb&j [never ever works]), but they are also the nicest, most compassionate, sweetest kids ever.

I suppose my point is what you already know: that you are doing what is right, even though it is hard and difficult and painful, because admitting that ANYTHING is wrong with your child is hard and difficult and painful. And when Noah is older and married and has a son and knows the worry that children give you, he will read these entries and know exactly how much his mom loved him, exactly as he was.


I love how you recognize Noah's need for outside help at the same time you recognize how totally awesome he is--just how he is.

My husband was probably this same kind of kid. His adult life would be much different if he'd had parents who advocated so relentlessly for him.


This is the time to get the Full Monty -- while he is still little. SO MUCH CHANGES in these early years. I know -- I have been there. We signed off (teary-eyed) on my son's first IEP when he was 4. He is now 12 and kicking ass. He gets a few services (minor) but wow, has he come a long way.

The nice thing about special services? The people working with your kid will fall in love with him too. I promise.





it will be okay!

go have an ice cream date with the kiddos in your lovely backyard... :-)

Bari Kartowski

Amy, thank you for sharing this. Big hugs.


I know I have rambled 800 million times that you guys are basically going through EXACTLY what we went through. I could write these blogs word for word. We had to go to freaking Columbia to get EI to see that he really did qualify.

When my son started it was 5 days a week from 8:30 until 5:00 pm. It was awful how long he was away from me. BUT it made the difference. He mainstreamed right into a kindergarten class and will be ok. He's struggling with some letters and reading comprehension, but is a whiz at math and completely average everywhere else. More than we hoped for.

You are THE kind of parent that children like ours need. Diligent fighters that stop at nothing to ensure our kids get every shot at being their best.

Noah is going to be so proud of you someday Amy.



I think it will be a good thing for Noah.
I have seen the IEP do its thing with my godsons, and it has changed them, for the better. It made them the fun, smart, witty, super cool kids I knew they were, but was hidden by all the frustration with their surroundings.


I love Noah and I've never met him, I'm pretty sure that will the be the story throughout his life. He is a wonderful, amazing kid and he will be fine.

AND YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!!! Never forget that.

Nette @ Smiling Mom

Congratulations on the progress...so sorry at the same time. :-)

My suggestion, as an educator, become an expert on special education law in your state. The more you know, the better you will be able to protect/ask for what Noah is entitled to have by law.

Thanks for the updates. You are doing a great job.

Tina C.

it's hard to admit and recognize when we've reached the end of our expertise at anything, especially parenting. i can understand why it would be hard to sign those papers, cause it's like saying you don't know how to 'reach' him and every mom feels she's the best one at doing that. but not all of us are trained in reaching kids, like they don't teach us how to do that in the birthing class: how are we supposed to know? hopefully the school system knows.

Plano Mom

You're a great Mom. EI sucks balls (my 10 year old's favorite saying).


Here's sending you, Jason, Noah, and Ezra some extra hugs.

And dude, in our tiny rural district, all yellow buses are short, no matter what school they go to.


Parenthood comes with so many joys but also an ass load of things we didn't ever want to have to think about let alone do.
You are doing it though, Amy.
It sucks and it's hard and you want to (and do) curl up and cry but you are still doing it and Noah will still be the awesome little human being he is but his life will be easier,happier now because of you fighting for the help he needs.
YOU are a good mama.


I have been reading your blog for years. I have a baby boy that is three months older than Ezra and a little girl who is a few months younger than Noah. My little boy was just diagnosed with infantile spasms, which basically traslates to: Your kid will almost certainly have developmental delays. I just want you to know that you inspire me (I know it sounds kind of goofy, but you do.) I hope that I can be, or grow to be, everything that my little boy is going to need me to be, just the way you have with Noah. Keep it up. You are doing the right thing. He will be so much better for all of this. Thanks for sharing your story.

Miss Grace



I went to a school for gifted high schoolers...and we had to ride the short bus.

Honestly, the short bus should be illegal. It's a form of flashing neon sign. And it's not fair, because the sign should flash about all Noah's great qualities rather than his weaknesses.


Brand new reader (from alexaflotsam). My son has sensory integration issues (what are we calling it now? SPD, SID? Can't remember. Must re-read books) that, at age 3, looked very similar to what you are describing. I am writing to tell you that we didn't waste 1 minute with birth-to-three or school bureaucrats. We got him treatment (private--mortgage your house if you have to) with an OT using the "therapeutic listening" protocol (http://www.vitallinks.net) along with fairly intensive OT, and he has come SO FAR in the last 2 1/2 years. Not just anyone is qualified to administer this treatment and there are some really quack-y OTs out there (you know that already) but if you get one trained in this treatment protocol and you stick with it...it works. I. HEAR. YOU. I hear you. Everything you say I have felt. And I promise you this: he WILL. BE. OKAY. And so will you!


Congratulations!! I know it seems hard now, but I am guessing he will love the bus.

I put Mari on at 2 years and 1 day and she adores it. The first Saturday after school started she cried for an hour when her bus didn't show up that morning.


PS Our bus isn't short. Which is weird, because there are 2 kids on it!! Seems wasteful, but whatever. It's free. No complaints from me.

Courtney in FL

My son is two and so many of the day to day trails (and joys) that you talk about are what we go through. It is not as easy as putting my son in time out like all the other two year olds he is friends with because he will head -butt till he is bleeding and bruised. BUT none of the other moms get it, they just think I'm not trying hard enough. It sucks when you give your all every day for your child and yet you still feel as though you have failed.

You are doing a wonderful job, you are fighting for your child, demanding that he has the best there is for him. *BIG HUGS!*

Nancy R

I think you should send an email/letter to 'the powers that be'...maybe after you re-work the wording to be less screechy, and have someone read it over for tone.


I feel for you. this must be so hard, but as others have said, this is a new start for him. Of course he's your perfect little boy. he just needs some special help and that's what he will get now.


I have been there. That first IEP is like a kick in the face. You are so blessed to have a school that works with you and is open. Just remember that if, at any time during the IEP (school year) you feel his needs are not being met, you have the right to demand a meeting and rework the plan if needed. We had stuff in our IEP that just was not relevant to our son, we took it out, reworked it and all is much better now.


Will you come write my blog for me? LOL.... You've said so perfectly here, everthing that I've wanted to put into words about our journey through the IEP/Evaluation/EI world. Of course, my son is older than Noah (10 yrso ld) and just diagnosed last year.....but, we're getting ready to start the journey all over again with our youngest who is now 3 yrs old. Evaluation results tomorrow.....I'm all sorts of nervous and out of sorts today.

It's good when you like your IEP team, it helps tremendously. And the teachers....without his teacher last year in 3rd grade we probably would not have noticed the issues that led us to Asperger's....

I'm so glad to hear that you're getting the help he needs {{{hugs}}}}



I wrote for the first time a few weeks ago. It's like you took the words right out of my mouth. I think I told you that I was going for Jake's IEP meeting a few weeks ago as well. I had a similar experience. I was expecting them to tell me that he had severe delays but they used words and numbers that I wasn't expecting. Words like mental retardation. I hesitate even writing, because my intent is to share your emotion. I am not trying to compare our kids at all - just the feelings we have as Mothers. I took the form home. I couldn't sign it.I finally signed it today and delivered it. Jake will be in the "special needs" class 5 days/week next year. I think it will be great for him and I think the teacher will be awesome, but it has been an adjustment. I am used to taking him to a private school where they take special needs kids, but Jake has by far the most needs. It makes me feel like a normal Mom dropping her kid off at the semi-normal school. When I went to observe the class where he'll be next year it was a shock. There is nothing normal about this class and there is nothing normal about any kid in there. It's where he's supposed to be - it's ok, but it doesn't make it any easier.

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I felt the same way. Thanks for sharing. I have a caringbridge site, but I can't always say how I really feel. It's all roses over there to make everyone else feel better. I need to start a blog where I can tell it like it is if you know what I mean. Elizabeth


Oh Amy...you are doing fabulously advocating for your son. He already is fabulous and this will give him the coping skills necessary to do wonderfully well in life.


At the risk of sounding like a douche, YOU GO GIRL. I hope one day when someone asks Noah who his hero is he says "My mom." Or, you know, at least thinks that to himself and says something "cool" and "less likely to get him beat up" like "Spiderman."


We all believe in that little boy. And we all believe in you.


I've written you a few times about how we are living parallel lives. It's started to creep me out a little actually.
Hopefully this comes across as my personal experience and not assvice.
So, my kid is just like your. And I put him in hoity toity, non-refundable deposit montessori in the mornings, then schlepped him off to integrated, special needs pre-school in the afternoon.
Within a month, he was kicked out of Montessori for being 'defiant.' (Bullsh*t. Crappy, whiny, weak teachers, I say.)
Anyway, other than losing the deposit, the insult of it, and a bit of heartbreak, I think it turned out to be a good thing. Morning and afternoon hardcore school was just too much for him, I think.
In the end, the free public school class that I had so unwillingly caved into trying (over my dead body is anyone going to label my child as disabled!) turned out to be fabulous for him. The teachers are amazing. And I understand they are held to a much higher standard than private school teachers.
And bonus! Half his class are spanish speakers! He's gotta pick that up, right?
Just my experience.


So so so proud of you guys for sticking with it and doing all this.

You know how good this will be for him in the long run (and probably the shortish run) and that it's just hard NOW, but it doesn't make the now any less difficult. I think focusing on those perfect cheeks is probably excellent therapy!

Lots of virtual love your way.


So so so proud of you guys for sticking with it and doing all this.

You know how good this will be for him in the long run (and probably the shortish run) and that it's just hard NOW, but it doesn't make the now any less difficult. I think focusing on those perfect cheeks is probably excellent therapy!

Lots of virtual love your way.


Hey, you just did the Hard Part. Now comes The Work. And that work would be continuing to advocate for your child. In fact, I would start squealing NOW for the 'extra year' of district preschool since he's got a September birthday. Noah should absolutely NOT start kindergarten as a nearly 5 yo.

For those of you reading who have under-3's who are being pushed out of line, 'don't qualify for services', blah blah, may I tell you the two lines that worked for us:
"We want him(her) registered for District special needs preschool; we have a diagnosis and we're not afraid to use it! Do we need to have our ADA attorney get back to you on this?!"


My just-turned-five son has SPD, and I would maim someone to get the kind of supports you're getting from your district. You're extremely lucky to live where you live.


I want you to remember how lucky Noah is to have a stubborn, hard-headed mother : ) The fact that this affects you so much, the fact that you have pushed and pushed and fought for him, those are the reasons why he will grow up to be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted, loving person. A lot of children don't have parents who care as much as you and Jason do, sadly. Just doing what you have so far is so very important, and you should be applauded for that.


Oh - and we go in for our official super expensive evaluation on Tuesday. Wish us luck! Like you, I'm not entirely sure what answer I'm hoping for.


PS to my much earlier comment: We live 6 blocks from our son's school, so we told the district he didn't need to ride the bus. Two days into the developmental preschool, he insisted he wanted to ride it. So we put together the paperwork and got him signed up. It was his absolute favorite part of the whole program.

And now in kindergarten, he doesn't qualify for the bus anymore, so we're walking again. Luckily he had so much fun that he stopped missing the bus ride after a week or so.


Lol'd about "The Short Bus"!
Hey, sometimes they send a BIG bus,
and sometimes it's a Chevy Surburban!
You will eventually race out to meet that bus, and click your heels as it drives off. Hard to imagine, but it's true. I only cried a few days. Then I got to see how excited my little Mr. Unique was to get on that bus, and how that bus driver hugged him every day and sang as they drove off (my guy was not talking at all even at 4) and it became part of his success story.
Oh - Mr. Unique is now almost 8. And wouldn't you know, his differences are almost transparent with his peer group. We had 3 years of District Preschool (6 specials, 6 typically developing peers; got that extra year because I squealed and screamed for it) and we also did private therapies 4 days a week. (You know, instead of funding retirement or going on vacation for 2 years. My parents also helped out a little. I realize not everyone can afford this. It was ESSENTIAL for our non-talker.) Now he's down to 2 days a week private, gets therapies at school (again, I insisted on more than was offered, insisted on neural psych testing, etc.) and he is social, able to tolerate most social situations, and FUNCTIONING. He needs a long decompression time when he gets home before homework. He is still lining up stuff and quietly repeating phrases, but it works for him.
Engineer, ya think?! ;o)
Noah and you are lucky to have each other. Ezra is a score, too.


We've just been told that after 4 weeks in The Full Monty, our Noah would probably be better off starting the fall in the Your.Kid.Is.A.Disaster class. We have re-do IEP meeting scheduled in a few weeks to basically change everything. We just had the first one 6 weeks ago. Everyone is all "Oops! Our bad."
Fun stuff. I feel your pain.


Kids like Noah maybe difficult to parent at times but always extremely easy to love!

God knew what he was doing when he entrusted Noah to you - you and Jason are EXACTLY the kind of parents he needs!


I know how hard this is as I have watched my mom battle the system with my much younger brother. I know how absolutely frustrating it is. Once you get past the labels (I actually rode a short bus in high school, only because my route was so small, but still, people made fun, although totally different circumstances), this is what Noah needs. I know it's hard. Hang in there. Maybe this is what will get him on the right track to tons of success at school (which will be better for all of you), and one day this will all just be a memory.


I know how hard this is as I have watched my mom battle the system with my much younger brother. I know how absolutely frustrating it is. Once you get past the labels (I actually rode a short bus in high school, only because my route was so small, but still, people made fun, although totally different circumstances), this is what Noah needs. I know it's hard. Hang in there. Maybe this is what will get him on the right track to tons of success at school (which will be better for all of you), and one day this will all just be a memory.


I know how hard this is as I have watched my mom battle the system with my much younger brother. I know how absolutely frustrating it is. Once you get past the labels (I actually rode a short bus in high school, only because my route was so small, but still, people made fun, although totally different circumstances), this is what Noah needs. I know it's hard. Hang in there. Maybe this is what will get him on the right track to tons of success at school (which will be better for all of you), and one day this will all just be a memory.


Apparently I felt very strongly about that since it posted my comment 5,000 times. Don't know what happened there - sorry!


Lurker delurking. It sounds like the school system is earnestly giving you the Full Monty. This is GOOD - because they recognize that you have a fabulous kid there, who will really benefit from this and help him expand his world and be even more fabulous. And, of course, he has fantastic parents who are on his side every step of the way.

I know that sounds all fluffy and has way too much fabulous and fantastic, but seriously - you know you have a very smart, sensitive, imaginative, wonderful kid there. The task at hand is to guide that kid into functioning more comfortably in the big, wide world, so he can shine. On the long list of things that go wrong with kids, you are dealing with so much promise and so much wonderful. Contine to trust your instincts along the way. Remember, you can't have instinct without stinc, so make one when it feels right.


If only everyone was so lucky to have parents like you. The pay off will be great, you're doing the right stuff!


I have no ass-vice. I just wanted to tell you that you are a terrific mom.


Amy, I am sitting here crying. It probably sounds so blog-stalkery, but I've been reading you since before you were pregnant, and this journey. This journey just rips me open. You've grown into an incredible mother, with the strength to get Noah exactly what he needs - whether as a chubby-faced baby or as a brilliantly individual toddler. You will win against this in the end.

Congrats, hugs, tears and wine.

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