Last week we went to Malachy’s IEP interview.
We talked about reading and writing and comprehension and all the things that the teacher thought we wanted to hear about.
Key learning areas that must be important to some parents but for us, for Mal, are the least of what we want for him.

Mal arrived on our doorstep, permanently, just after his third birthday. He couldn’t walk very well, he couldn’t talk and he was aggressive beyond measure.

We worked hard and finally Mal could follow direction, communicate effectively and started to understand basic action and consequence. We worked on all the normal things that a kid his age should be able to do over the years.

We essentially treated him as we do all of our other children.

Activities of daily living, like dressing and brushing teeth and watching out for traffic on the road, you know things that give people a certain kind of independence.

Our parents scoffed and scolded and were unhappy with us, told us our expectations were too high for someone like Mal, someone who was different. They would spoon feed him and dress him and do things to undo all that we had done.

To me our expectations were not too high, are not too high.

Mal has learnt well.

Every single task we set for him he accomplishes.

 At the moment he is learning how to wash dishes (like all the other kids), he has the chore of recycling and is able to prepare breakfast (Weet Bix in the bowl – we pour milk and spoon the sugar).

For a kid who is globally delayed and at 10 has a development level of about half that, he is amazing.

So, back to the IEP.

As the teacher was talking about literature and sight words, Dave and I were confused.

We know that Mal has no interest in reading or writing, he is more a hands on, gadget guy. That he reads was never something we would have expected of him.

That he can recognise street signs?


That he can co operate and understand direction in a group?


That he has life skills that will allow him some sort of independence, some self esteem to get through this life?

You betcha!

So are our expectations too low?

Should we set our sights on academia for Mal?

No, I don’t think so.

I think our expectations are just right and it seems, his teacher does too.

When we explained that the three R’s were not really on our radar for Mal, she sighed a huge sigh of relief.

So what about you?

Do others think you expect too much for your child?

Expect too little

or are you all working together on the same page?


Also blogging at Three RIng Circus

4 Responses to Expectations.