the IEP ramble (sort of like the harlem shuffle ‘cept not at all)

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The following is dangerously unedited. Godspeed.

Prepping for today’s IEP meeting

The big one

The one where we plan for next year

Fifth grade

The very last year before …

*Cue Jaws Music*

… middle school

Placement

Support

Goals

No

Wait

Goals

Support

Placement

Better, yes?

Reading reports this morning

My stomach in knots

Words like

Deficits

Challenges

Criterion

Borderline

Severe

Anxious

Shut down

Unable

Below

Weak

Struggles

It’s easy to miss the other words

The ones she started with

Delightful

Curious

Personable

Endearing 

Charming

Funny

Progress

Capable

Yup, they’re right there too

Before the pages and pages and pages of what’s hard

They’re there

In black and white

On record

In the report

Written by the SLP who not only knows her — truly, really knows her — but clearly adores her

And better — better? — respects her

Those words are there

Delightful

Curious

Personable

Endearing 

Charming

Funny

Progress

Capable

And they are every bit as true and real and salient as the others

It is my job to remember

To remind

That for every deficit there’s a delight

For every challenge there’s progress

Forward

Forward

Forward

We’ll decide on goals

Then placement

Then support

Because that

That is the order

It’s my job to remember

To remind

That the overarching goal

The one from which all others derive

Is not uniformity

No

It’s not keeping up with a timeline that’s not hers

No

It’s being Brooke

Brooke – in all her …

Delightful 

Curious 

Personable 

Endearing

Charming 

Funny 

Capable

… glory

With the tools to be

Happy

Fulfilled

Successful by her own measure

Which IS success by any other

Yes

It’s my job to remember

To remind

That for every deficit there’s a delight

For every challenge there’s progress

For every weakness there’s strength

We’ll start there, shall we?

With the strengths

With all that my girl CAN do

I hope they’ve got time

It’s a long list

Then we can talk about support for the areas in which she struggles

And then Brooke

Brooke will talk

She will say whatever she wants us to hear

My money is on a team cheer

Any takers?

And cheer we will

Because we are HER team

Team Brooke

It is my job to remember

To remind

There is no Team Brooke without Brooke

To ensure that she’s there

In the room

Sowing the seeds of self-advocacy

Working toward the goals

That ultimately she will set

For now we’ll go with

Happy

Fulfilled

Successful by her own measure

Forward

Forward

Forward

For our …

Delightful

Curious

Personable

Endearing

Charming

Funny

Capable

… girl.

*

Showtime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 thoughts on “the IEP ramble (sort of like the harlem shuffle ‘cept not at all)

  1. Oh, Sweetheart, I so understand your angst. As difficult as it may be, you get Brooke’s needs met every year without fail. I have no reason to think it won’t be the same this year.

    Love you,
    Mom

  2. Wishing you all Good Luck today!!! You’ve ALL got this. I’m pretty confident in that! 5th grade?!? Where does the time go? Too fast xoxo

  3. Holy crap – you are the mother every one of us wishes they had – if Brooke can succeed in life it will be because her mother didn’t believe she wouldn’t!

  4. Ours is in a week. Each year, I ask myself, “Does it even matter? We can set all the goals we want, but we never seem to find a way to get there.” But I miss the improvements and the positive commentary, like you, because I’m so focused on working on the problems. The middle school transition was the reason for me leaving my job – chucking an entire career out the window so I could help my kids – so I understand your trepidation completely.

  5. your unedited is way better than my triple edited. impressive. my thoughts are with you guys, hope super brooke and her super team have a great meeting, as anxiety filled as it may be.

  6. I expect to hear there was a JetBlue song sung during IEP today! As the French would say, bon courage.

  7. awesome! wish I had your gift with words and your ability to keep the main thing, the main thing!

  8. This was so well done–yes, there are strengths..and it is only right that we acknowledge them before looking at the other side. Best of luck at your meeting!

  9. Thank you DOAM! I am recommending DOAM to all of the special education personnel that I work with. Some NEED to change their way of thinking. We NEED to listen to parents!!!

  10. Good Luck! I am in the process of scheduling the meeting. The school wants to wait until August. I think we should do it now. Now, because then it is fresh in everyone’s mind. The fight is just beginning. They say he can’t be in a “special ed” room because he is “too smart”, but a regular classroom is too much (too much noise, commotion, people, etc etc etc). The same fight every year. The same arguments. I need them to see him. I need them to understand that he wants to try. And WANTING to try is a HUGE step forward. Hugs and prayers today. You can do this! 🙂

  11. Sending up prayers for her IEP. That it will produce a plan that is EXACTLY what she needs, so she can keep blooming. I always worry that we’ll miss something crucial that our daughter needs. We’ll be doing our daughter’s fifth grade IEP very soon (like within the next two weeks). I’m right there with ya. It’s such a delicate balance of trusting the teachers (but still questioning), fighting for what she needs and is entitled to, and making sure that her voice is heard. It’s all about making sure she is equipped with all of the tools to be everything that God intended her to be, to reach her full potential. IEP’s are definitely not for wimps! Good luck!

  12. Love the idea that you include Brooke, such a great idea! i cant think of a better way to start teaching self advocacy! Good luck today – although I am sure you don’t need it. When it comes down to it IEP’s are gut wrenching, definitely not for wimps 🙂

  13. I promise to reread this before every IEP meeting I attend and to never forget that every child is as special as Brooke. Thank you.

  14. This is beautiful advocacy prose. Who knew such a genre of poetry existed!

    I just had this conversation with our community-funded support consultant: she said our daughter was shifting from individual support in the classroom to shared support next year, because another boy with extra needs was joining the class. Long story short, I said exactly this: it is the order that is so often upside down and backwards. Funding – support – learning goals – Holly’s strengths and challenges. When it should be:
    Holly’s strengths and needs
    Goals
    Support requirements
    Search desparately for Funding

    Thank you for putting this so well…

  15. I will have my son’s very first IEP in a couple of weeks. I have never been through this so I have no idea what to expect but I hope and pray whatever happens I will be strong , like you, in advocating for my child. My Ethan is 13 and is every bit how you described your Brooke but sometimes I want so badly to just do the hard things for him but am learning (from you) it wouldn’t be right to take those experiences away from him. And this IEP is no different. I just hope and pray his day will be the answer to my prayers and school will no longer be a place he fights not to go to every day. I wish you the very best for today’s meeting but from where I’m standing (well actually sitting) you will rock the house and get it done…just sayin.

  16. Today was our BIG IEP meeting too – my (not so) little one enters fifth grade next year as well. Like you, as I prepared I seemed to have skipped right over the strengths and sunk into the swamp of challenges. I hope that yours was like mine – a reminder that he has made SO much progress, that he has AMAZING strengths, and that we have a team who both love and RESPECT him.

  17. I still feel totally inadequate and ignorant at these meetings. Thankfully, our local “parents'” group (I’m the gram) is meeting next week and we are discussing IEP’s. It’s been suggested we bring ours so we can be “on the same page.”

  18. We just had ours for my son. We focused on planning many transition trips up to the new school to become familiar with both the staff and the building during this school year. We also have his old teacher and aide going with him during these trips. They are video taping him while they are there so he can keep watching it on the IPAD to become familiar with himself in that setting.

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