Today I have Andrew’s IEP meeting. (IEP stands for Individualized Educational Plan…and it’s the document that outlines the services he’ll need over the next year.) It’s early this year. Usually we meet in April, but the team decided to go ahead and have his meeting early since he’ll be taking state testing this year. If there are any accommodations he’ll need for the testing, we need to add them now. I wish a possible accommodation was: “Mother will sit in front of Andrew and occasionally tap the desk when Andrew spaces out.” “Mother will say “check your work” periodically.” But, I have a feeling that’s not going to fly.
My first IEP meeting, I look back on as one of my Most Heroic Moments. I was three days out of surgery and recovering from a UTI I got during the surgery. AND, it was two days before Christmas. Andrew was 4 and needed much more support than I realized. I hobbled into the office (literally! I could barely walk!) to sign the paperwork and get him the interventions he needed.
The next IEP meeting was worse! I was in fine health, but I had to fight so hard for silly things that should have just been basic, standard components. Like bussing! The people I was working with felt contentious and difficult to me. I don’t look back on that one and feel heroic. I look back on that one and feel mad and a little crazy. ;)
When Andrew was in first grade, his IEP meeting was amazing. Up until then I never thought of those meetings as an opportunity to feel supported, but it was SUCH a supportive meeting. Everyone at the meeting personally knew Andrew (which had never happened before). Everyone had delightful stories to share, notes on progress he’s made, constructive ideas on what more could be done moving forward. His IEP said things like “Andrew walks in the classroom every morning with a smile on his face and with stories to share.” When just a year before that his IEP could have said “Andrew regularly has meltdowns in the classroom that can last several hours.” His first grade IEP meeting was a HUGE indicator of the turning point he made once he started the program he’s currently in.
Today I don’t expect any surprises. I’ve checked in with the teacher and his occupational therapist to see ahead of time what their thoughts are on the goals and interventions he’ll need. No one is saying he’s ready for a different setting, or that he’ll need drastically different services. It should just be a basic meeting, and, honestly I am really looking forward to it. Since he’s in the right place with people I trust, I am eager to hear the reports they have to share. It feels indulgent to me to sit around with a group of adults that work with my kid and hear what they have to say about him. Like some kind of spa treatment for neurotic moms. :)
And then, when all is said and done, and the papers are signed and the meeting is over, I have this lovely chocolate cake to come home to. :) And the whole family is glad about that!