Bridging the Gap by Building the Bridge in Special Education
It takes both sides to build a bridge. - Fredrik Nael
When I first began advocating for my own child, I remembered a bible study topic about Standing in the Gap. In the bible there are several references to this topic. In Ezekiel 22:30 God said “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” This creates a mental picture of a wall around a city in the land of His people, with a hole in it. In ancient times a wall would have been the best means of protection of the city. In order to defend the city one or many people would need to go to the gap and fend off dangers to protect the people.
In Psalms 106:23 there is the following - “So [God] said he would destroy them—had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.” Similar this refers to the need for someone to intercede on behalf of someone else. Moses steps into the gap between God's wrath and His people of Israel. To standing in the gap, is to intercede. More about the story of Moses and the gap can be found in Exodus 32:9-13.
The ultimate #BridgingTheGap story is demonstrated by Jesus Christ himself. He is the intersession on our behalf in our salvation and relationship with God. Hebrew 7:25 - "Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." But we too can fill the gap. In 1 Timothy 2:1 we are asked to intercede for others through prayer. Through God's great wisdom we can meet His will through prayer for others and action. He still seeks those who will stand in the gap for friends and family, for people and nations.
While some of these examples address standing in the gap between God and his wrath, others speak to bridging a gap for the benefit of others and providing something good by doing so. It is mostly from the latter that I drew my cause, passion and work. As I saw gaps in my own child's academics, daily life, etc. I immediately knew that God would be there to take care of him and could use me as the means to make sure that the gaps could be filled. While the position of filling the gap was not always easy and was sometimes met with great resistance, battle type tactics and wrath, I remembered how Moses and Christ stood in the gap for God's people. Even thought we are imperfect humans still learning and growing in our faith and relationship with Him. So couldn't I do the same for my child when the going got tough? I could and I would.
Over the years I learned to fill the gap no matter how wide. To find solutions that a team of people could work with to help my child succeed. In that I found a calling. I found a passion for helping students bridge the gap that existed in the academic setting and beyond. Helping parents learn, through my work, to stand in the gap on their own, and build trust and a relationship with the school based side of the team to work together constructing a bridge from both sides that closes the breach and creates opportunity for success.
If you think about the structure of a bridge, you begin to realize the job it does is very important. It must support the challenge of getting from one side to another, safely and effectively, in both directions. Academics and life skills can be viewed in the same manner. They don't just happen in the school building, students take work home to complete their learning. When a student on an #IEP has a gap in their learning or life skills, they require something specialized to help them succeed. The entire #IEPTeam, which includes parents, must come together to figure out what the student needs and how to provide it in the most effective way possible. The needs don't stop at the school building, parents have to support the specialized instruction and skills at home as well. By doing so, they do their part in building the bridge to close the gap. The team is providing services and supports for skills that will help the child beyond secondary education and into their future. Once the bridge is built, the student's struggles can be met and a clear path laid across the gap, to success.