Monday, April 11, 2011

'Tis the Season...IEP Season

It's springtime! And along with the birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees, there are IEPs - the Individualized Education Program for special education students. Since both of my boys have IEPs that means I have to attend two meetings and that's why I only posted one time last week. This year, the IEPs were back to back and each one took at least two hours. My youngest son's IEP has gone for close to three hours; oh the joy.

Preparing for an IEP is time consuming and emotionally draining. Because it was the triennial for both of them, there were numerous assessments to pore over. As the name suggests, the triennial occurs every three years in order to determine continued eligibility for special ed. For my youngest son, it's merely a formality as it's obvious that he will need special education for his entire school career. For my oldest son, it is a necessity because although he needs accommodations to be made in order to help him be successful, he's doing fine academically in a regular classroom.

Reading over the assessments can be difficult, especially for my youngest son. While reading the assessments, it's very difficult for me to separate my emotions from my intellect. In other words, it's hard to be objective.  As I'm reading, I think, "OK, he can't do this, or this, or this..." If I allow myself to go down that road, it can be very heartbreaking and demoralizing. While I'm reading, I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself that regardless of what he can or can't do, he's still my sweet little boy. Assessments are important in helping parents and teachers determine which skills a child has, and which skills a child needs to develop. However, assessments don't measure a child's worth; parents especially need to remember this.

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