IEP Meeting – My Thoughts on the Latest One

My Thoughts on the Latest IEP Meeting

What is an IEP Meeting?

iep meetingPart of having a child with special needs is attending an IEP meeting EVERY year for school. If you don’t have a child or know someone with a child that has disabilities, most likely you aren’t familiar with the term IEP. IEP or Individualized Educational Plan is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services. The child’s “team” attends the meeting. Which usually includes the student, teachers, therapists, parents, school administrators and any other invited parties.

Every October

When you hear the word October, you may think of Halloween, leaves, pumpkins and other Fall related words. I do the same, but add the IEP meeting to that list. That is because when October rolls around, it means it is time to discuss and review my daughter’s IEP plan. This year we are going on 8 to 9 years of these meetings, when you count preschool, and transitional Kindergarten. Yesterday, my husband and I went to Kaylee’s first IEP meeting since she started Junior High. Kaylee has always loved school since she was little, which in return makes these meetings easier. Why? Because she wants to be at school, she enjoys learning and making new friendships. Therefore, her teachers are not having to struggle with her to try and reach her goals.

What Type of Things are on an IEP?

Before an IEP is written, the child will be evaluated. To get a base of where the child falls and to see what the child’s strengths and weaknesses are. Some of the areas they look at are adaptive skills, communication skills, academic and cognitive testing, as well as social needs. After all of that is complete, then the “TEAM” sits down and comes up with the IEP plan and writes goals for the child. The reason why we meet once a year is because A LOT can change in 12 months. Goals can be met, other needs or areas of focus might present themselves. For Kaylee, her goals range from things like mastering her current reading level, to learning to become more self-sufficient. What I love most about her goals and her amazing “team”, is that they help her with day to day tasks, and life skills. That many of us take for granted. For example, tying your shoes. Sure it may have taken you a few tries, and it probably came rather quickly to you. Well, for someone that has fine motor issues, tying shoes is a much harder task. Or learning to button up a shirt. Learning these tasks helps us be more independent in our daily lives. And who doesn’t like the feeling of knowing you can do something by yourself? These can be huge victories for someone with a disability. If there are goals that we are working on at home, that can carry over to school. Kaylee’s team with also work on those. The key is having everything written in the IEP.

It’s Not Set in Stone

As Kaylee’s parents we are her number one advocates. If at any point, my husband and I aren’t satisfied with Kaylee’s services. (This has never happened in all of the years Kaylee has been on an IEP.)  We can set up a time to meet with her IEP team before her annual October IEP meeting. At this time we would discuss concerns we might be having, or maybe even discuss changes that need to be made to the IEP immediately. The team is there for Kaylee. So if something wasn’t in the best interest of Kaylee and here needs, then we would definitely need to re-evaluate her IEP.

The best there is!

iep meeting teamI honestly, (I might be a little biased) feel that Kaylee has had the best teachers and therapists.  There isn’t a day that goes by, that she doesn’t talk about how great school was or what she learned. Kaylee hates it when she gets sick or has to miss school for a doctor’s appointment. Wish I could say the same about my son. 😉 Her team at school is like an addition to our family and I am grateful for that. I have read and heard a number of horror stories about how awful IEP meetings can be. And how a school won’t take the child’s needs serious. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful support team for my daugher.

Concluding Thoughts

I share this with you because there are things in this life that we may not understand and that is okay. We can always learn more about what we don’t know. Also, not all disabilities are visible.

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you!” -unknown

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