I am an IEP

Day 17: Autism Awareness Blogathon

Thanks for all your wonderful wishes for a successful IEP meeting. For those who don’t know what on earth we are talking about – IEP stands for Individual Education Plan (you’ll understand the title when you get to the end of the post). They are tailored to each child’s individual needs and must be relevant, tangible and measurable.

In Australia and in my limited experience, the goals are kept to three, or four at a stretch. They give the teacher very specific information on what they need to be working on with each child. This of course is in addition to or incorporated within the curriculum, not instead of.

The other major thing that is different for us in Australia is that the IEP does not determine the support and resources allocated to your child. This makes it more of a discussion around where your child is at and where you’d like to see the teacher’s effort go.

L’s three goals are in focusing on/finishing tasks, making choices and numeracy.

he can say the words, but what do they mean?

L’s private OT attended and was a wonderful contributor. She will now be seeing him within school hours at the school and will also be working towards the goals we identified today. I just love this. With other therapists we have had to attend their clinics (all over town) and this has to be fitted in around school hours, making the day super long and the sessions unproductive.

We had a great meeting. The first thing we discussed was what I saw as being the priorities. L’s teacher was very attuned to where he is at, gave great examples which illustrated exactly where that was and what the next step would be from there. She also noted that there had been a significant jump in his communication on returning to school from the holidays (really??). Yes! Speaking more often, more clearly and doing a lot of happy chatting. Lovely to hear!

We had a fantastic discussion about motivation. It’s always been a very difficult thing for L. He is NOT visually motivated, so pictures, stickers, PECS, dvd’s, tv shows, books or anything like that just do not rate. He is not food motivated, does not have a sweet tooth and is not interested in lollies/candy/chocolate etc. He loves his ribbon and that’s about it. But through our discussion we came up with some really great ideas to incorporate into his day that will help him in working towards his new goals. I’ve got a bit of work to do in making and collecting a few things, so will post about these when I have something to show you.

sorting anyone?

Before I know it 6 months will have flown by and I’ll be very interested to see how my little darling has progressed.

As I left the meeting, L’s teacher commented how wonderful it was to have a parent so interested, informed and willing to back everything up at home. Geez! I know that’s a lovely compliment but what on earth does it say about some of the other parents?

Yes he does!

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3 thoughts on “I am an IEP

  1. I’m glad things went well, Rose! We have IEPs here as well, but they don’t guarantee that you’ll get X, Y, or Z. Likely you will—if it’s not too expensive or intrusive—but no guarantees. Because of our present economy (we live in Kansas) a parent is more likely to have to fight for what their child needs. I imagine the degree of difficulty/cooperation differs state by state here.

    Most of Sam’s IEPs have been appropriate and productive, but one was just bizarre. One of the teachers in attendance verbalized the fact that she wanted Sam grades to be pass/fail instead of lettered (A, B, C, D, or F) like the rest of his NT classmates. The teacher thought we would understand that she needed to look out for Sam’s NT peers by ensuring that Sam’s [potential] low grades didn’t drag down the class average. I didn’t understand this at all, and I said so v-e-r-y clearly.

    Keep up the great work on your blogathon, Rose!

  2. First, Rose, I don’t know how you have the stamina for doing all you do in a day and these marathon posts. My hat is off to you.

    Second, I am both inspired by and envious of your IEP experience. We recently requested an unscheduled IEP meeting for Helene, and the request was not, shall we say, warmly received. I’ve talked to so many parents who have had negative IEP process experiences here, and I believed (perhaps naively) that it was because the parents either weren’t properly prepared for the meeting or had unrealistic expectations about what might be accomplished. Now, I’m starting to see little glimmers of truth in how adversarial the IEP process here in the States can be.

    I’m struck by L’s IEP containing only three or four goals. That makes so much more sense to me. Helene’s has FOUR PAGES worth of goals that are supposedly objectively measurable. It feels very micro-managed to me, and I worry that her teachers lose the forest for the trees because of it. Having broader more flexible goals, and limiting the scope, I believe sets more realistic process goals. It just makes more sense on an intuitive level.

    I, like you, try to go prepared. I have what another autism-mom-blogger refers to as the “Binder of Epic Proportions” in which all things Helene-related are kept. So, please cross your fingers for us that our sailing is as smooth as yours was.

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