As the school year kicks into full swing, it’s easy to forget your child’s IEP that you most likely completed in the Spring. With the hustle and bustle of life, we often get lulled into this false security that all is well and on track because the teacher smiles at us or our child seems happy each day that they come home. I’m not telling you anything is wrong but, what I am telling you is, in order to keep it that way there are going to be some things that you need to do as a parent to help the squeaky wheels of education move along. Here is how I stay on top of my children’s IEP’s and make sure that goals are truly serving them and not some unmet agenda.
- Review, Review, Review – Throughout the school year (I do every three months) I review my child’s IEP, I go over notes and I review any work they have brought home, any work they might have done with a tutor and all work and I see how that fits into the goals written. “Does it seem like they’ve met them?”, “Does it look like they won’t meet them?” “Do I see struggle or gains in those areas?” Doing this keeps it from being just a document that you dust off once a year but turns it truly into a living breathing document that affects your child now and not just once a year.
- Communication – Don’t wait until the day or week before the IEP meeting to communicate your findings with your child’s team. That’s like waiting until after the report card marking to address your child’s failing Geometry grade. Do all communication in writing, words get forgotten.
- Help Them Out – With our kids you can’t expect for all needs to be met during the school day. Getting extra speech therapy or hiring a tutor (or doing it yourself if you’re so inclined) to help support your child’s success. Remember if your child doesn’t reach a goal, and you did nothing to help support that goal, it’s not just the school who failed them.
- Help Them Live – One of the largest things that parents of children with special needs children want to avoid, is the conversation of them one day no longer being around. In addition to academics you should be teaching your child how to take care of themselves to the best of their ability, taking them out in the community, teaching them how to do basic household tasks, but getting them to be as independent as they can be. That is something that can truly not be taught in a school, although many schools try, there is nothing like practical real-time experiences and mistakes that make it all stick. Stop babying them, hoping that one day the different ability will be gone or that you will live forever and always be able to do things for them. My son with autism (limited verbal and seizures) can make his own sandwiches, he can wash his own laundry, he can warm food up in the microwave (with assistance), all things that many children in a similar position as him are not able to do, because they are not given the opportunity outside of school. Allow them to make a mess, do it wrong or need your help.
Here’s Your Tweetable: “Parenting isn’t an easy job, no matter your child’s ability.”
When you stay on top of things, they are less likely to fall apart and the more useful you can be in your child’s growth and development. If you haven’t been doing this, don’t beat yourself up, just start where you are and keep it moving. No need to go back to Elementary school IEP’s if your child is in High School. Move forward.
If this helped you please share with a few friends!
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Peace Love & Recovery