Bitter Greens



LONG time lurker commenting at last... not 100% related, but I recently have had things that were out of my control decided on & in a way even though I didn't like the results at least I KNEW. The not-knowing was almost worse. So congrats on the knowing?...... keep your head up!


As a teacher, and a mom of 2, I can only imagine the depth and spectrum of emotions you must be feeling. Take deep breaths and hug the boys close. It will feel better/different/calmer soon.


He'll always be Noah. Just love him up.

Sprite's Keeper

Hallelujah for answers!
Now where's the wine?


I've covered a lot of kids with IEPs, and always, all the paperwork, all the tests, everything meant nothing compared to what the kid was getting at home. Obviously, Noah is getting a lot. All that paperwork is just to keep the educators in line, not Noah.


I'll bet it is sort of anticlimactic for you, after all you've been through.

Anyway. . . Ditto what Rach said. (I know you do/will!)

Hairy Farmer Family

Hugs to you. Some difficult days you're having lately.


The IEP saved us - it is the one piece of paper that requires teachers to treat my child in a certain way to keep my child in a positive learning environment. It isn't the only thing - but something about getting that in place is so much better.


More toward nothing ... you already love him so much, which is the main key factor in everything.


I know those feelings...felt them the first time last October w/ my 10 yr old, getting ready to feel them again tomorrow w/ my 3 yr old. And then again in the fall for my 10 yr old. Someone above mentioned a "spectrum of emotions" and it's so true....some of them may surprise, but mostly they won't. But, you know what? He's still your lovable, adorable Noah....who is going to get assistance that you've fought long and hard for.

Now, go grab him up and bear hug him and do what you do him.


Well, that's one chore done, at least. Stay in Maryland even though we'd love to have you back in the District. Hang in there and best wishes to you all.




I hope will mean for you what it's designed to mean...that Noah gets what he needs from school. After all, an IEP does not define Noah, just what he needs from school. Good luck!


This won't make you feel any better today, but I've been there. My oldest has an IEP for ADHD and some mild sensory issues. Just a couple weeks ago he brought home his progress report card (he's a fifth grader now) and he had really good marks. The heartache and fear associated with why needed an IEP faded a bit as I held that piece of paper in my hand. He's not out of the woods, my boy, but for now he's doing damn good and I'm proud of him.

You'll have those moments, too.



Hugs to you - saw your tweet about this and sent good vibes your way.

Also - cursingmama - love your nickname!


Oh, Amy - this little post just killed me. My mom went through the same kinds of things with me and, many years later (like just about 5 years ago), an old letter resurfaced that my mom had written to my grandmother (back when I was about Noah's age) about how my mom would never give up and how she knew I was just extraordinary. Oh, to the mother that never ceases to try and figure it out and search for answers, to never give up, and to love. You are awesome and Noah, like me, will be so grateful later on.


Delurking to say that after being a teacher for seven years, IEPs are not as scary as they seem to be. When used appropriately, they are excellent documents to map out a plan to help a student/child get what they need from their educational experience. When used by a good team of parents, special ed teachers, and other teachers it's one of the most useful tools in education. You are Noah's advocate, his voice, and his biggest fan. The IEP can be a great tool to be an advocate for him while you aren't there and he's at school. I applaud your efforts for early intervention and your sensitivity to the fact that every kiddo has "issues."


IEP's are accountability for the school and the teachers. To make sure that he gets what he needs. It puts many more people in his corner.

It doesn't change how wonderful or amazing or smart or detailed he is.
It won't change his heart, his humor or his big, bright smiles.


Agree with the previous poster about the IEP. But forget that, how awesome is that picture of Noah? He's perfect :)


It'll change what's expected of his teachers but it doesn't change him. What a cutie pie.


Thought about you and Jason and The Noah today and wished you well and answers at the IEP.

One day, Noah will know how many Internets aunts and uncles were rooting for him.


Oh Amy, Bless your heart!

You and Jason are working your hardest to do the best for Noah.
You have been through tough times, dealt with things out of your control but you have kept going as hard as it is.

Sounds like you are on the right track now and can make a positive move forward.

Noah is a wonderful child with wonderful parents.

Love can do amazing things.


My parents have to go through the whole IEP ordeal with my baby brother. It is such a stressful ordeal. I am so sorry.


You and Noah are lucky to have each other.


I am sure that the meetings and the paperwork, and all is overwhelming and at times heartbreaking but all that I see is a happy, healthy, very smart, and well-loved little boy who is going to get everything he needs to succeed in this world- if that takes an IEP, then bring it, every child should be so lucky!! You are doing a great job!


My step-son, who lives with myself and my husband, has an IEP at school for behavioural problems. While some people might think that this "labels" him, it really doesn't. All it does is provide him with the absolute best care and attention where he needs it most. It has been the best thing to happen to him and to us. The IEP is evaluted three times a year and changes as necessary. While it is hard to accept that your child needs the extra help, it is so beneficial. Noah is so very handsome and such an amazing little guy. Nothing changes about him...but the extra help he will get with an IEP will allow everyone else to see how wonderful he is in every single way.


It does change everything (his craptacular teacher has something to go by to not treat him like a pain) and nothing (he's still your amazing wonderful little boy).


Is that all you're giving us?!


Well said Diane! Congratulations Noah, you deserve to have the grown ups on your page of the book not the other way around.


This is simply one small factor of who Noah is. The most important thing to remember is how wonderful he is :)


I can't imagine what you must be feeling, though you summed it up perfectly. I hope that the outcome of all of this is a happier life for all of you. That's what you've all been shooting for.


As a special ed. teacher, soon to be mother (due sat.) and sister to a brother with special needs, I have a lot of emotions wrapped up in your story. I've led hundreds of IEP meetings and I want you to know that you have just completed a HUGE hurdle. Breath. You can move forward now with a team of professionals to support you and Noah. I would love to work with a parent like you.

Sarah @

I can't possibly understand what you mean, completely, 100%, because I've not been in your shoes. But hugs to you and your family, especially to your handsome son.


I have no idea if it will make you feel better, but about one in five of the students at my high school has an IEP. It may not make it better for you, but schools no how to handle IEPs and teachers know how to deal with students with IEPs.

It gets him the best help. And that rocks.

Stay strong!!


Sounds like a step in the right direction, or a direction at least. He'll get some great attention! I think you'll be pleased...


Early Intervention SLP here - it seems to me that it does change everything and nothing. Your feelings that he needs services are validated, his teacher has some changes to make, you have some changes to look forwards too, BUT he is still Noah, with all of his wonderfulness (that one thing balances out all the ones on the other side). Iwant you to know that I read this 1) because you are hilarious and funny 2) you help me look at the parent side of EI.
Thanks for both.


I spent all morning on the other side of this, as a special ed teacher leading IEP meetings. It's stressful for us too and the paperwork is onerous, but we, like you, are there for the good of the kids. I love my students dearly and would do anything for them, even if that includes mountains of paperwork.


Hang in there, mama. You're doing such great things for your boy. And good luck Noah - there are great things in store for you!


It doesn't make it easier for you now, but the IEP will be handy. For some of my high school students, the plan really helped me figure out ways to reach out. They also helped me understand behaviors and needs the students had. As others have said, you and Jason will make all the difference. The plan is just a guide for his teachers.

Jana (formery known as Jezer)

When developed and implemented by the right teachers, and IEP can be a beautiful thing. Just always remember--you are the Mama, and you have the final say. :)

Jennifer txmomof3

First of all, WOW what an amazing support system you have in your readers. Those comments moved me to tears. They love you. They love Noah. They love your whole family. How blessed are you to have so many caring people in your corner?

Second of all, Noah has YOU. How blessed is he?? He is so blessed. SO blessed.

Things are scary, but you know, YOU KNOW, things will be okay. You know that. Take comfort in it.



EI failed spectacularly.

But it is not poor Noah (your tweet). He has an amazing advocate who is pushing for answers. Noah is tremendously fortunate to have you as his mother.

He is not a label. He is a wonderful, bright, loving boy who has the best mother.

Stay strong.


My son just finished his first year of special ed preschool with our school district and I had all the same thoughts as you going in to it at the start of the year. I had so many fears and was terrified we were going to regret sending him there. The year is over and he has made sooo much progress it is unreal. He will be going to a typical preschool next year and his IEP will not be following him. He made friends and found his voice and Noah will too. It can only help and if you feel at any point it is not the right fit you can always pull him out. I know it is hard to keep things in perspective but it is ultimately up to you. You will do the right thing...your boys are lucky to have you.


Whatevs. If the world really worked the way it should, EVERY kid would have an IEP, since every kid is an individual and, therefore, deserves an individualized plan. In some ways, you're lucky that the-powers-that-be recognize the individuality in your child, and will make changes to meet that individuality.

At least, that's looking at the glass half full. Preferably with a good Chardonnay.

aka alice

Hi Amy,
I read your blog every day you post, and I don't comment very often (unless it's about an iPhone dropped in a toilet), but I've been reading these past weeks about Noah, and the IEP, and I just want to ditto what others here have said. I've been teaching for 17 years...the IEP is ENTIRELY about making sure the school does right by Noah...there's nothing wrong with him...but the IEP helps you to make sure the school does what it's supposed to do.

Jennifer A.

The IEP made me feel like I wasn't crazy and someone finally agreed with me. It got Jimmy some help and we deal with the rest.


At last, some sort of answer. It's okay. It really is.

He's a great kid, you're truly one of the best moms on earth.

He's going to be alright, honestly. And so are you.


Another SLP here... I can't even imagine what you are going through, but I think the other commenters have said everything very well. Big hugs.


This may not help much, but it helps the junk out of me as a person who needs various social services. My counselor taught me that what evaluators write in evaluations are not creative, insightful reports. They are made up of a bunch of jargon hooked together with some grammar. If you want the person you are evaluating to get some help, you use the terms that mean in 'social services' this person really needs you to come through with some stuff here. Those heavily negative words are designed to get the wheels of beauracracy grinding. Phrases like charming but sensitive to xxx will get you nothing on the help-o-meter. If you find words like severe, profound and such they are key words for the level of help needed.
If these folks really want to get your little guy some support from the system they are going to use the terminology that opens the right doors. There are a lot of folks out there wanting services and a lot of folks ready to toss them out of the system because they are not 'bad enough to need help'. Responsible evaluators will base their evaluations on the 'worst day' your little guy has because that is the level of help they are trying to get him qualified. Hope this helps.


i'm just hoping you remember all us little people in 30 years when noah becomes the next steve jobs or barack obama or, like, i don't know, nelson mandela or someone.


My sister preforms these IEPs. She says the children who have the easiest time overcoming the obstacles they have are the ones where the parents are involved. Believe it or not, there are many who aren't - so Noah will overcome whatever he needs to, because he has two wonderful parents.


At least you know now. I know you'll do what is best by your child, no matter what that will be.


This is good. It's all so good. :)


I know how much it sucks to have someone tell you there is something "wrong" with your kid, believe me. But another way to look at it is this: think of it as advocating for Noah to get as much personalized attention in his education as possible. So many kids get overlooked, or shuffled along in our education system. I've seen this from both sides of the desk - as a teacher and a parent.

Noah has the advantage of having loving parents who are making sure that his every need is met. That's a huge advantage. Your love for him leaps off the screen in your posts, Amy. Yay for you for pushing to get answers and services. He is truly lucky to be yours.


Proud of you for sticking to
your instincts- and not
listening to people who thought
you were pushing too much
for answers. Your son is lucky
to have
you for a mom- and it sounds like
you are pretty darn lucky to have him for a son. Best wishes to your family. You should
compile this journey into a
helpful witty guide to dealing
with the system! Also- bless you for the zero-40, I am starting
my journey and just live for
your entries!

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