Well it’s that time again! But guess what! If you use my tips below, IEP meetings do NOT have to suck!
Let me start off by saying that Claire is in first grade. We have dealt with Early Education, preschool, summer school, different school districts (in two different states), Kindergarten, and now 1st grade. Below is what I have finally learned!
- YOU set the tone! I always walk in with cookies and a smile (and several kleenex hidden in my pocket). It’s like waving my white flag. I also start off with wins for Claire that I have seen at home (usually things they say she can not do). For example: a video of Claire playing shapes in the bathtub. You should have seen her team look so confused! But you know what, I just gained their trust! Speaking of trust…
- TRUST your team! Every single one of us has strengths and weaknesses. Do you know what the team excels at individually? Do you know their names? Have you let the wall down to yourself? If they have no clue who you are, how do you expect them to trust your judgement/suggestions?
- Clear COMMUNICATION. There are times when the goals set for my daughter were so vague that we literally took an hour to figure out the nitty gritty. But I did not care. This is my daughters educational development we are talking about! I also had to clear up how I wanted the school to communicate issues with me. My daughter has had a runny, snotty, booger incrusted nose her entire life. I do NOT want a call every time she has a snot bubble! So, I set the communication there as well. Yes, every school, every nurse, and every secretary I have to start all over again. But then I no longer get the daily calls to come get my daughter.
- Have an OPEN MIND. Okay, this is where we all start crying in these damn meetings. Do not lose sight of your kiddo and the amazing accomplishments they have made thus far! Who cares if they are not doing the things Suzy is? My point, if you keep comparing your kid to the Jones’s, you are clouding your ability to create the S.M.A.R.T. goals for your specific child. Stay laser focused (and maybe have a bottle of wine chilling at home) and do not agree until everyone is on board. YES it’s exhausting, but you can do this!
- Lastly, Be Prepared. Be sure to read this book regarding IEP preparation before your next meeting! Request a copy of the most recent IEP, compile the daily reports you get from the teacher, bring your planner that has the documentation of every time you got a call from the school, research the resources available to that school, and lastly develop write the goals that YOU expect to see on the next IEP. Do not expect the team to do all of the work.
Take a breath. It’s a lot. I know. But if you follow these tips, I promise it will not be as stressful!
If you have any tips you would like to share post them in the comments! Also, don’t forget to subscribe for my newsletter to receive more helpful tips, tricks, and nuggets!!
Thanks for reading,