IEP meetings can be like going to the dentist. I remember the first few years of Aidan’s schooling, I’d lose sleep for at least a week before a meeting. After his first meeting I was nauseous for a few days. These were all under the best of circumstances. I felt prepared and generally liked Aidan’s team. There’s just something about an inherent us/them mentality and being outnumbered that left me a ball of anxiety.
Here are three things that have helped me greatly to feel more part of the meeting and solidify myself as part of the team:
1. Everyone gets a photograph of Aidan. He’s the reason why we’re gathered around the table and he’s sure a lot more that what can be summed up on any piece of paper.
2. Everyone gets a list of his strengths, what he enjoys and helpful hints. ie Aidan is getting stronger in his walking. He’s very social and loves to engage face to face with his peers. Throwing his spoon means he needs help, not that he’s all done. The thing is, for the rest of the meeting we’ll be talking about all the things he needs to work on, his deficits. That is certainly necessary but can be really painful, so I start with the positive.
3. I write IEP goals. I’m an expert too and have a different view on Aidan’s education that is valid. Now, I don’t actually write them with the proper language and silly numbers. I just try to get as specific as I can with what I’d like him to work on.
How have you survived your IEP meetings?