Tuesday, June 4, 2013


You know, I taught for 14 years (only three in a public school, mind you) and conducted more IEP meetings and parent conferences than I can count or remember. But I began to look on them completely differently after I had a child, and especially after I had to start attending IEP meetings as a parent. And I'd like to think I lead them with more empathy.

A teacher with no children, especially one without children with special needs, (my daughter's teacher, for instance) can have no idea of the dread and anxiety with which a parent of a special needs child approaches an IEP meeting. I am fortunate to live in a state in which I am entitled to see a draft of the IEP in advance, but there's no way to approach this meeting wholly calm. My insides are all in a dither and will be until a few days have passed after the meeting. We've been happy with the services provided, and I think next year will probably be good, too, but if an IEP is in the picture then you're going to have to listen to some information you'd rather not have to hear.

How much to share on this blog is a bit of a conundrum for me. I've certainly alluded to have a child with special needs before, and I'm not a bit ashamed or embarrassed to share more. In fact, I think it might be helpful for me and perhaps others out there in the blogosphere. But I hesitate because I'm not sure it's best for my daughter. I'm not sure it's fair for me to share deeply personal information about her here. When she's grown up, it can be her choice.

So, all that to say I have a daughter with an uncertain future. I worry more or less by the day. I'd love to reach out to others with similar concerns. Do you have them? We can always email!


  1. Will you email me all about it? When is the meeting?

  2. As an educator myself, I've participated in many IEP meetings and I remember approaching many of them with an "I need to get the parents/guardians to do this" instead of coming to the meeting more open-minded to what the parents wanted. I would encourage any teachers at IEP meetings to listen authentically to the parents/guardians, if for no other reason than to ensure the parents/guardians feel heard (though there are better reasons as well).

    Also, despite being an educator, at every IEP meeting I have attended with Sarah, educational terms I don't know and don't understand are bandied about. Just today, the terms "transfer trials" and "errorless learning" were used. I'd never heard of either one and my head was spinning trying to keep up with what I was being told. Keep in mind, I WORK in education, am a reasonably smart dude, and I ALWAYS feel intimidated in an IEP meeting. Imagine how parents who AREN'T in education must feel when these academic terms are thrown about.

    Much respect to my wife, who is a shining advocate for our daughter.


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