Another year, another IEP meeting

Every year, as our kids get older, the summer break feels different. Whether your kids have been learning in structured camps or unstructured exploration, at the beach, mountains or city streets, they are different now than they were when the last school year ended. Change and lack of structure can be hard, but think about how this summer has given you an opportunity to learn more about each other, about yourself and about how your family works best.

As you review your child’s education plan for the new school year, think about what you noticed about your child this summer.

  • What environments were too overwhelming and what did they need to thrive?

  • Did you learn any ‘parent hacks’ to set yourself up for a smooth transition?

  • Did you notice that your child was calmer or more exhausted at specific times or as a result of certain activities?

These things are just as important for home as they are for school. Bring them to your IEP annual meeting! As a parent, what are your concerns? Hopes? Vision? I’ve included an excerpt from another parent, at @diaryofamom on Facebook. Her words resonated deeply with me so I wanted to share them with you. (side note: If you are on Facebook, I recommend following her page!)

@adiaryofamom, August 14, 2019

Tis the time of year for the dreaded once-over of Brooke’s educational support plans. Good times, my friends, good times. (Psst, that’s sarcasm <—).

While the documents are never easy to read, the following excerpt from the “Parent Concern” section of Brooke’s IEP always makes me smile ..

Brooke is a funny, generous, bright, resilient young lady who enjoys life, loves interacting with others, and enriches the lives of everyone around her. Her parents seek to help her to increase her independence, both socially and academically, while supporting her in both realms.

They seek to give her the tools to interact comfortably with her peers and, ultimately, to form and maintain the lasting friendships that mean so much to her. They are focused on doing so in a way that does not compromise her autistic identity. Most importantly, they want Brooke to have the tools she needs to live a life that makes her happy, whatever that might mean to *her*.”

For more tips on the IEP and preparing for team meetings, check out:

Our Special Education Guide for families in Massachusetts and our Special Education Guide for families in Louisiana.