I don’t know about you, but I have an IEP coming up. And it’s a big one. I want to be ready. Panic was starting to set in. Then I came across this article.
1. Wear costumes. On the meeting invitation, say, “Festive Dress Required.”
2. As an equalizer, require all attendees to wear Groucho glasses.
3. Require all attendees to bring a musical instrument.
4. Provide refreshments: Jalapeno Cheetos and red Kool-Aid.
5. Invite Hillary Rodham Clinton. List her name on the cover sheet.
6. Try this introductory exercise: If you were a color, what color would you
be and why?
7. Play background music — anything by Frank Zappa.
8. Give everyone a set of five flash cards to be used as the mood strikes:
- Who invited him?
- I love your hair! Where did you get it done?
- I’m sure we can trust that this will get worked out.
- Does the law have any bearing on this?
- Excuse me for 10 minutes while I can call my lawyer.
9. Have the TV in the room tuned to the Court Channel.
10. Keep score. Give a really nice door prize to the IEP team member
(parents excluded) who makes the most positive comments about your child.
Award grand prize to the IEP team member who makes the most negative
comments about your child — the winner gets to provide 36 hours of respite
care, in their home, to your child.
Thanks to Cynthia and Aaron Bissell of Aaron’s Tracheostomy Page for sharing the IEP humor. It was exactly what I needed to “take the edge off.”
I’m trying to remember our very first IEP meeting, but I’m struggling. It’s been many years. And countless meetings. Often, we were fortunate to have knowledgeable, understanding administrators and school personnel who were mainly concerned with our child’s best interest. Sometimes we needed to wrangle them in if they veered astray.
Now, as we ready ourselves for our big finale, the last IEP meeting of our lives, I want to leave you parents with a few handy tips. Insights I wish I had over the past 10 or 12 years.
Always remember that an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is an opportunity to customize your child’s education. Use it to your advantage! It ends when the student graduates–upon receipt of a diploma or certificate.
- Always enter each IEP meeting with a typed page of your Parent Concerns. If any of the listed items can become part of the formal IEP, that’s excellent. For those that cannot, at least you’ve made them part of the official record that is filed.
- A positive, supportive attitude goes a long way. Let teachers know you want to partner collaboratively with them to help your child be the best he can be.
- Make sure that every person making decisions about your child knows your child. If the person has never spent time with your child, ask that he or she do so first.
- Strategically plan for your child’s triennial IEP to coincide with senior year. That way, the student exits high school with current assessments and evaluations.