Sunday, September 12, 2010


If I could sum up the one feeling that I've had for the last couple of weeks it would be trepidation.  The cause for this feeling is pretty clear to me - we have our first IEP meeting for our daughter in one week.  And, while I think I've done quite a bit of preparation work for this meeting I still have a healthy amount of trepidation.  

You see, I'm not comfortable with people performing "evaluations" on my child.  I think it is unfair to give my child a test that was not designed for children who are deaf and have cerebral palsy.  I don't like that they rank her on a scale and assign her skill set a number.  I don't like that all the tests they are doing and the written reports that are generated from these assessments will go into some school record and will be the first introduction that a new set of professionals will have to my charismatic daughter.  

I do, however, take comfort in the fact that the professionals writing the evaluations for Emma are the same ones that have come to know and love her over the last few years.  My fears are also diminished a bit since I have had conversations with each of our early intervention therapists around appropriate goals to include in Emma's IEP.  Finally, I am glad that I already set the expectation with the IEP team that I am not interested in a full-time program for my three year old.  On this point I will hold firm even thought I have had comments around starting with my desired schedule and then ramping up her hours over time.  

I am going into our first IEP meeting with an open mind despite my trepidation.  I was fortunate to hear from our state lieutenant governor just yesterday about legislation that was recently enacted to ensure children with disabilities in our state are given every opportunity to live up to their full potential and his call to action for parents to ensure we hold the schools responsible for implementing the law.  It is so exciting to know that our state is looking out for our children!

Last week a member of our team said to me that she knows I've done my homework around services available in various school districts and that she thinks I'll be pleasantly surprised with what the school district offers and that I should not go in with my guns blazing and ready for a fight.  This comment really got to me because I most certainly am not going into the IEP looking for a fight.  I am going to the meeting with much love for my little girl, a well thought out set of goals, and a plan to be a contributing member of the team.  But, if this does not happen I am not afraid to do as our lieutenant governor requested and hold our school responsible for ensuring we are doing everything necessary to provide Emma with the supports required to meet her full potential. 



  1. Kristina sheedy/WhiteSeptember 12, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    Stick to you gun, but don't be afraid to be a little lenient in your expectdations in the beginning.

  2. I have never yet been to an IEP meeting without SOME trepidation. If I've had months to prepare, or if we've just arrived in the district Friday, and school starts Monday, and we're enrolling as "homeless" because we're staying in a hotel and all my "stuff" is on a computer that won't be moved for weeks gets me the same. I never feel ready. You seem ready to me! :)

  3. Sounds like you have a good mindset. Not sure what state you're in, but here in PA, they give you a form at the end of the meeting to sign stating that you agree or disagree with the plan (it's called a NOREP here). The BEST ADVICE I can give you is to NEVER sign anything like that at the meeting. Ask them what the timeframe is for returning it and then go home. You will always have questions or realize you forgot to ask something, or that you asked a question and they talked round and round it but never actually answered your questions.
    While I hope for the best, I know that many IEP teams are expert in leading you down the path they already have in mind (speaking of which, my second best advice is to get a copy of the draft IEP which they almost surely will have written ahead of time!).
    And if you walk out unhappy or change your mind about something later, remember that you can call an IEP meeting at any time to discuss changes or additions to it. It is a living document.