This week my lovely mentor Caroline blogged about why she gets so excited about 'little' things. I'm not going to paraphrase her moving words, if you haven't read the post and the lovely comments that followed then please do.
And it got me thinking. As parents of children with special needs, we too have to learn to celebrate the smallest of things. Son 2 should now be approaching his GCSE exams, yet as we sat in a meeting at his school yesterday, we were asked to celebrate the fact that, just occasionally, the teacher can get him to focus on a task for up to 30 minutes. He should be planning for sixth form and university, instead it was hinted that due to his lack of engagement he may not qualify for short term funding at a residential college when he leaves school, something on which I had been planning.
But hey, you know it's fine. Because ever since he was one we have had to adjust our expectations. We have learnt to take pleasure in his small successes. Every year he does make progress, even if it is entirely on his own terms. Before the meeting he had filled in a sheet, by selecting and sticking symbols, to tell us all what he likes at school and wants to do next year. He enjoys ICT and Food Technology. He wants to do yoga. All of this made perfect sense to us, they were clearly his own choices.
So at the end of the meeting we came out celebrating the fact that in his almost five years at that school he has made lots of progress. He might not, through his own choice, shine at English and Maths, but he is learning life skills which for him are far more important. As the formal part of his education draws to a close the school will be focusing more on getting him doing fun things in the community, something which he often finds rather scary.
We will all, school staff and family, continue to celebrate his every small achievement. It's something that perhaps only those parents who have been there can truly understand.