The System Says It’s There to Help, So Why Did It Take a Fight to Obtain an IEP?

Gloria Lucas
7 min readApr 11, 2024

“When I grow up, I want to go to MIT,” my son says. “Because they have an awesome physics program!”

“My favorite color is Mom color,” my son tells me. I ask him what ‘Mom’ color looks like. He reflects for a moment and then smiles at me. “Mom color. You know. Like a rainbow. It’s everything.”

My son is sitting on the couch, sobbing. “Why can’t I do anything right? I try my best not to be annoying. Why doesn’t anyone like me?”

Photo by Pixabay:

I replay these and other discussions in my head as I sort through the mountain of research in front of me. In my mind’s eye I see him binge-reading manga and physics books. I see the light in his eyes dim when another child shuns him. I replay the phone calls from teachers asking me for suggestions on how to handle his behavior. I hear them use words like lazy, disruptive, annoying.

My son hums when he takes tests. He fidgets enough that his desk makes noise. He interrupts people when he gets excited about a topic. He’s clumsy and breaks things often. He forgets things at school and loses documents at home.

His English teacher complains that he will not give up his creativity. She writes this on his report card under notes. I scan the copy.



Gloria Lucas

I write about trauma and mental health. Sometimes parenting. Also, short stories. Daydreamer. Always behind on laundry. She/her