iep day

Today is the day.

Today we sit down – as a team – to talk about our baby girl.

Today the team will, by necessity be largely focused on what she can’t do.

Today, we will continue to remind them what she can do.

Today we will set about establishing goals for the next twelve months – for a full year’s worth of academics, communication, motor skills, social skills, sensory regulation, self-care.

Today we will break each of those down into its ten thousand parts, then rebuild it in an order that we think might be accessible when presented to our girl.

Today we will remind them, this isn’t about the ten thousand parts.

This is about our girl.

Today, words and phrases will fly around the room as we talk about what we see as – what we believe is – possible. Because we have to believe – as a team – that everything is possible.

... keep pace with her peers academically – decoding and comprehending grade level reading assignments …

… understanding and utilizing grade-level math concepts with both fluency and fluidity, creating a solid foundation for later learning …

… understanding and being able to participate in discussions of science and social studies concepts …

… continue to decrease dependence on adults by increasing her ability to use peers for modeling … … participate in age-appropriate recess games and activities including but not limited to …

… greatly increase her access to the language necessary to participate more fully in every aspect of her life, but especially the social interactions with her peers that she so obviously enjoys, desires and …

… participate comfortably and naturalistically in social settings, finding and fostering one or more real friendships among her peers …

… an increase in joint attention among peers and adults …

… an increase in her understanding of abstract ideas / topics …

… sensory regulation and awareness of tools that she can utilize to promote it throughout her day …

We will listen. We will contribute our thoughts and help to flesh out each and every one of them.

We will talk about service delivery and homework, time out of the classroom and time back in. We will talk about the practical application math program, the individualized reading curriculum, the fact that in actuality, grade-level remains a far off goal in both.

We will talk about scaffolding and visual cues, think time, prompts, social thinking, decoding, frequency, fluency, behaviors, data, comprehension, anxiety, scripting, self-regulation, phonological awareness, communication strips, social stories, heavy work, verbal frameworks, systematic teaching of play schemas, facilitation, expressive language, receptive language, evaluations, ABA, pencil grips, lap pads, shoe tying, swinging, technology, fidgets, wonder bubbles, brain in group, inferencing, predicting, concluding, telling time, identifying money, bilateral coordination, peers, placement, progress, support.

I will, at some point, cry.

And before we leave, we will reiterate our vision statement. The one that we, as parents, put into the IEP every year. The one that says,

“Above all, we want to see her broaden her arsenal of tools, skills and strategies and use them to be a happy, social and confident child who enjoys life and all of its experiences.”

Because really, isn’t that the point?

Today is the day.

Deep breath.

50 thoughts on “iep day

  1. That “happy, social and confident child” sentence says it all. The lingo, the strategies, the labels all pale in comparison to that one goal. And I really think Brooke is getting there. Wishing you the best of luck today (I always need a few tissues too).

  2. You will do it all, Jess–because that is what you do. You will also cry–because that, too, is what you do. You will get it done–yet, again–because that is what you do.

    I love you–(because that is what I do).

  3. Good luck today. You’re so lucky, sounds like your school is eons ahead of most; some of that lingo isn’t even known where we are. There is one I question… brain in group?

  4. Good luck mama, we’re behind you and with you. I have to believe it’s okay to cry, I usually cry at some point during those meetings too. xo

  5. I always try to remember the two basic goals so it isn’t all do overwhelming. 1. Independence and 2. Socialization. Reaching toward those goals is the main goal for our kids. Keep those in the back of your mind while writing all of the other goals. Your present level of performance section can and should be about all she can do. It can be pages long! I not only have a sob with autism who is 15 but worked as an advocate.

  6. Thinking of you today. Be strong. Make sure you get what you want and need for your little girl. I’ve had too many of these meetings where I end up coming up short. I’m done with that, though, I’m going fully armed this time.

    May the force be with you!

  7. Best of luck to you today – and know that you take each and every one of us with you……. You will stand strong for your little girl, and it will be ok – SHE will be ok!!

  8. Sending you strength, patience and wisdom to get through this. We are all behind you, pulling for your special girl, and hoping that she gets everything she needs and more.

  9. Love your vision statement. Thinking of you and knowing that the IEP meeting is difficult to sit through — every time. Let the tears wash away the sight of what she can’t do (YET) so that you will see clearly all that she can do and will do. Remember – the school is full of students in every classroom who move at their own academic pace – not just Brooke (doesn’t the whole world work this way really?). Best of luck Jess.

  10. Wishing you luck! So far my two IEP meetings have consisted of the school telling me that his diagnosis isn’t recognized by their psychologist and that he doesn’t need an IEP. They always finish by telling me I should be happy I have such a smart boy instead of focusing on the negatives. Then I cry.

    • I don’t know what state you live in, but in Pennsylvania if you write a letter to the principal stating you want an eval and an IEP, they have exactly 90 days from receiving the letter to get it done or the state steps in. I had to do that for my son because they didn’twant to change his 504 to an IEP for 9th grade.

  11. Is Brooke in a regular class at school? My 14 yr old has been in a regular class since kindergarten, in his elementary and middle school years they had assigned him a “buddy”, in other words a nice, kind, understanding child, to help him through his day. To make sure he had his supplies ready for each class, that he had what he needed to bring home and to make sure he understood what he was supposed to do. To “bring” him into social groups and games… it worked really well actually, and by 6th grade he didn’t really need him anymore, but he is asperger’s so I don’t know if that would make a difference… just a thought, or does she have an aid?

  12. “Be a happy, social confident child who enjoys life and all of its experiences.” This is perfect–what I want for all of my kids. Thinking of you today, as you forge ahead planning for Brooke’s next 12 mos….

  13. Best of Luck. We will be thinking of you. We had ours a couple weeks ago. At this point (Preschool year 2) things are *fairly* simple. The school is giving her the services she needs and teaching her everything they possibly can at her age. I’ve thought to myself, so many times, that I know this process is only going to continue to get harder every yar. I’m already nervous about the transition into Kindergarten. Next years reevaluation. You’ve just given me a glimpse into what will be. Last year I went in there calmly and open…but I had my gloves…ready to put on if needed. I knew this year would be simple. Next year, I think I’ll have to brace myself…
    I know you’ll do everything in your power to make sure Brooke is getting everything she needs. You always do. Remember even though they focus on what she can’t do, in the end, we all know how FAR she’s come! xo

  14. Sending lots of good wishes and hopes that you get exactly what you need for your wonderful Brooke.

    And maybe they can slot in some language like “continue to improve xyz…” so that the team can also be reminded of how very far she’s come.

  15. “I will, at some point, cry.” Ain’t that the truth? You know what else you will do? You will very eloquently and powerfully advocate in the best way for your girl because you, Jess, YOU are so good at this. I hate that you have to be, but you are. You can talk about her deficits and still let them know what a kick-ass daughter you have. Because that shines through in every word you say about her. Good luck. You will rock this.

  16. Thinking of you… You and Luau are Brooke’s most awesome advocates. Good luck today! Ours is next month and it’s my son’s full 3-year review/re-evaluation.

    “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” –Christopher Robin to Pooh.

  17. Wishing you all the best today! I have every confidence that you will accomplish what you set out to do. Thanks yet again for sharing your experiences, and for being so candid in doing so. It’s so nice to know that we are not alone. Actually, it’s much more than nice, it’s a lifeline.

  18. Good Luck, I always cried too. I also wanted to argue most of their points because she “does that at home”, but they never wanted to hear that. I know, like you do, that it is all in the best interest of our babies, but sometimes it is so hard to hear all the “can’ts”. Head up, it will be over soon and you can go back to what you know she CAN do.

  19. Good luck, we did this just a few short weeks ago. I just kept reminding myself, I am her advocate, I am her advocate. It was our first IEP, and I cried as I do almost every time. I am very blessed with a wonderful school that focuses on my daughter’s strengths, how much she has grown over the last several months of evaluations or since last year when the discussions of IEP began. I know I am luckier than most when it comes to our school, I hope you have the same wonderful support staff. God bless. Your post touched my heart, thank you!

  20. I always dread IEP days. Though the team isn’t telling me anything I didn’t all ready know, it’s so hard to sit there and hear what they aren’t doing, goals they have yet to meet. After all these years it still feels like a punch to the stomach. Brooke has made amazing progress.Try to focus on all that she’s done and less on what she has yet to achieve. Good luck today!

  21. To think that other parents are out their dreading to open Johnny or Jill’s report card and nervous about sitting down with the teacher for the “teacher /parent conference”. Think of how much you have learned about educating children and identifying their needs because of your beautiful Brooke. You can do this because you are her amazing Mom who has discovered her warrior side. Good luck.

    BTW my 4 year old son who is on the spectrum thinks Brooke is pretty. :).

  22. i remember reading a post about your IEP meeting from previous years but this year, i understand it so much more. i taught in public school for 2 years. i sat in many IEP meetings but just as a body, a witness to nod when appropriate and sign on the line. i didn’t get it then. then i sent my boy off to school this year and i sat in his meeting. this time, as the parent. no longer a silent body but an advocate. reminding them like you of all the amazing things my boy can do and asking for help for him with the things that are such a struggle for him. wanting them to care and fall in love with this little guy as much as we love him. there were tears. there’s always tears when i talk about my boy and how much i love him and the hope i have for him.

    i get it so much more.

  23. I would wish you luck today, but you don’t need it. You are the most amazing advocate for Brooke – and for all of our kids – that I know. Every single moment of every single day you work hard to give Brooke – and Katie – what they need. They are lucky to have you. The school is lucky to learn from you. All of us are lucky to have you as inspiration, as hope, in our journey. So instead I will wish you strength – because no matter how strong you are, IEP days are always hard. And love, because we all need that on our toughest days.

  24. At our last school meeting I decided that I would not let them see me cry.The effort it took not to almost broke my jaw. I have since decided that it is good for them to see my tears. It keeps it real. It helps them to remember this is just not another student, this is my son,my heart.

  25. It is always a very difficult meeting because you want the magic solution and you know it isn’t there because it is tiny step to tiny step that will do what you want done for your little baby. It will happen however, but it will take all the skills you, they, and she has…
    Love you and feel for you…

  26. a lot of words and ideas and feelings to absorb today, best of luck with all of this. just hope the meeting concludes in a way that leaves you feeling at peace with the overall gameplan; i’ll be thinking about you guys, take care.

  27. thank you all so much for your love and support today. the iep meeting went very well. now we await the official proposal and refinement process, but there were no surprises this time (thank god!) and we’ve got a wonderful team of people working together to support our girl.


    p.s. stay tuned for tomorrow’s post for the funniest line ever to make it into a behavioral assessment!


  28. Just remember that she is more than just pieces and parts. She is important to her family, her peers, the community, how her needs can change the world and the way it works. That is a pretty big ticket. Without all the different people in the world to make us look at things in other manners we wouldn’t be able to invision to try to build a better future for us all. I hope that made some sense. My prays are with you and all the other parents and children that have to have these days.

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