Today was our annual meeting in cooperation with Ian, his social worker, and his care provider to write and edit his Individual Support Plan (ISP) and update the detailed report of his needs, interests, and preferences, as well as what services he requires as an adult who experiences intellectual and developmental disability. It comprises an enormous battery of information, including his areas of strength and vulnerability in medical, financial, behavioral, social, emotional, and vocational arenas. Everything from yes, he balances well and can walk up and down stairs unassisted to no, he still doesn’t like pasta. Also, he wants to own a macaw someday. But, really, who doesn’t?
The ISP meeting is as encouraging as it is stressful because it’s an honest and frank conversation that includes victories and celebrations as well as what was hard last year, what’s not going so well, and what did or could cause harm so we can mitigate that together in the year to come. I’m grateful for Ian and Ian’s team who are committed to helping him live his best life. We all need a kind community — and an honest one — to thrive, and that’s what he has. It’s why he’s happy most days. It’s why I can rest easy, knowing he’s active and learning and content living with another family and with other young men who experience similar challenges. He is, in every sense, not alone. He’s with people who understand. He’s with people who cheer him on. And he’s with people who don’t put up with his bullshit. May we all be so lucky.
But I admit, Diary, as much as the ISP — like the IEPs before them — are full of highs and lows, they’re also… funny. Mostly when I realize my son and I are essentially the same person. Functionally the same person. Deeply and unalterably the same person. If anyone was writing an ISP for me, it would include much of the same information.
Beth is able to participate in housework but she needs periodic reminders and prefers someone else do the cleaning.
I mean, obviously.
When Beth cleans, she goes through the motions but doesn’t necessarily complete the task thoroughly. It’s more of a… symbolic cleaning.
Beth prefers to have others complete her laundry.
Beth’s goals include owning another dog. Also, a macaw.
Beth sometimes uses her attitude and body language to communicate her displeasure instead of using her words.
I’M WORKING ON IT, OK?
So, you know. As far as I can tell, an ISP is pretty much the same thing as A List of What It’s Like to Be Human.
Like mother, like son.
P.S. “Symbolic cleaning” is my new favorite phrase. Also, it shall henceforth be my specified threshold for chore completion. “Are you done with your chores? Well, I don’t know. Would you say you at least symbolically cleaned? Yes? Well then, excellent. Let’s mark that shit done.”
P.P.S. “Symbolic cleaning” works seamlessly with my life motto: Half Assed Is Good Enough.
P.P.P.S. And also with the remarkably applicable adage by G.K. Chesterton: Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Badly. I mean, really — if I have to choose between perfectionism and joy, two states that rarely coexist, I know which one I’m picking. Joy. Hands down. Every time. And only “symbolically cleaning” the toilet.
This is an old, OLD pic of this kid, but it’s one of my faves because LOOK AT THOSE GORGEOUS EYEBALLS.
Now he looks like a man. 😭 Someone hold me.