Yesterday, my husband and I attended Willy’s IEP meeting, and in case your not familiar with an IEP or the term IEP, it’s the acronym for Individual Education Plan. Willy’s entire team was there (Speech, OT, BCBA, classroom teacher, and Jason and I), and for the first time in a long time, I wasn’t nervous about our meeting. I was actually excited about it, because my husband and I got to actively participate in planning his goals for the big move to kindergarten this coming fall.
Willy’s team each took turns with updates and recommendations for next year, and I am proud to say that he has made significant progress in all ares since our update meeting a few months ago. Even his behavior is on the upswing as well! Woo-Hoo! He will need some fine tuning with his pencil grip, social bids, ABA, and few other areas, but all-in-all, I am very proud of my big boy! I know I say this a lot, but I’ll say it again… he works so hard to hold it together everyday at school. He tries so hard to control his impulses and sometimes he succeeds and sometimes he doesn’t, but the fact that he tries so hard… well, it just makes me that much more proud of him. I really am.
One of the goals that I suggested for next year, is having Willy answer wh-questions with some kind of comment attached to his answer. For example, if he’s reading a book with his teacher, and she asks him a question about the main character or setting, I’d like him to be able to answer appropriately and in a full sentence; “Who is hiding under the nest? The silly bird is hiding under the nest.” “What is the the bear eating?” The bear is eating honey. Yuck!” “Where is the fire truck going? The fire truck is going to the station. It’s dirty ” “Why is the girl sad? She fell down and got a boo boo.” Etc.
Another goal I’d like Willy to succeed at is sequencing events, because I’m hoping that maybe it could help ease some of his anxiety in the long run. Other goals that I suggested were counting, prepositions, and a few social goals. But all in all, our meeting went very well.
But what some parents don’t realize about their child’s IEP, is that once everything is typed up all pretty, and delivered to you in a fancy manila envelope, you don’t have to accept what’s written by your child’s team. You can “reject” it. Now, I’m not recommending this for every child’s case, but it is an option that I wanted to make you aware of. I’ve sat in plenty of IEP meetings in my time and have listened to many parents who wanted to add another goal or two, or change the way a service is delivered, or the amount of hours the child spends in/out of the classroom. IEP’s are legal documents and are not meant to be toyed with, nor the people who spend hours writing them, but you as parents have rights, and you know your child better than anyone else, so that makes you their biggest advocate. It’s best to use those advocating powers for good and not evil… if you get my drift (wink wink, nudge, nudge)
One of the things that worry’s me the most about my son making the transition from preschool to kindergarten, is his behavior plan, which his BCBA works tirelessly on (because she adores him), and hoping that his new team is consistent with it across the board. If you know my son, he’s the kind of kid that if you give him an inch… he’ll take a mile. And I scared to death of that happening. Willy needs consistency. He also needs to know his expectations, your expectations, and most importantly… what is coming next. He can smell fear and will take it and run with it, so it’s best to try and meet with his new team before the new school year begins in the fall.
I am confident and a tad fearful at the same time about the thought of starting from scratch with a brand new team, but thats also where I have to sit back a little and trust a new team of professionals to make the right decisions for my boy, and know that he’s going to an incredible school with a very competent team of professionals helping my boy to succeed.
TGIF my friends.