Last year my son got As on his report card. This year he’s barely holding on to Bs. I couldn’t be happier.
Last year my son had an aide who was a very nice lady. She helped him write down his assignments. She reminded him to turn in his homework. She took notes for him when he was too tired. She was a fantastic aide, who through absolutely no fault of her own, was perpetuating his dependence on her. At one time she was very necessary, but by the end of last year I’d decided her help was now a hindrance.
So, this year, we let her go. We cut my son loose and tossed him out of the boat to sink or swim in the mainstream world with no support (other than incredible teachers, an ever-watchful case carrier, an understanding school administration, and a nervous mother who checked his backpack each day.)
Guess what? He’s doing fine. He’s doing more than fine. He’s keeping track of his assignments, getting his work turned in, asking questions in class and managing all his school responsibilities himself. Is he doing as well as he was last year with the aide’s help? No. He’s doing better. His GPA is suffering, but he’s learning independence in leaps and bounds. Now I know that in a few years when high school ends, he’s going to be able to make through college, where there are no aides and no IEPs. I know he’s going to be able one day to hold down a job, where they’re not going to allow his mommy to come in and check up on him each day.
Our experiment has been a success, but if my son had crashed and burned, that would have been okay, too. The school was ready to supply an aide if it turned out he still needed it. Whatever damage would have been done to his grades, he’d have survived it. We’d have learned what help he still needed and what he could do on his own. We’d have known that we were pushing him to reach his potential as quickly as we could, that we weren’t coddling him into a lifetime of dependency.
Goodbye, sweet aide. You’ve served us well. Thank you for getting him ready to make it on his own.