January 8, 2011
IEP meeting 2011
Another year, another IEP meeting. This one takes the cake though in terms of my preparation, my request for attendees and my determination to keep everyone in the room until we all agreed vocally and on paper about Alex's goals for the next year. Three hours later everyone, or at least I, left happy.
I have repeated the following questions at every meeting I have ever had about Alex since we moved to this area in August, 2006. Questions to me get more buy in than statements. To paraphrase my annual chorus:
Do you think these goals are hard enough to really push Alex?
How will you measure and report back to me?
What is the communication process you will use to communicate with the ENTIRE team?
Do the regular Ed teachers understand Alex's IEP and their role in assisting with her goals?
Do the extracurricular teachers/coaches understand how they are helping Alex with her goals?
Are we looking at the whole Alex and implementing her goals, even though they might be subject matter goals in ALL her activities?
Are her speech and social goals, which involve inclusion and social interaction being reinforced in the classroom and the basketball court?
Is 45 minutes a week enough speech therapy to reinforce alliteration and intelligibly? The answer is NO
Is the 1 hour allotted for the counselor to meet with Alex enough time for Alex to feel comfortable, share her concerns and talk through solutions about problems? Once again the answer is NO.
Is the peer group meeting of 30 minutes a week helpful? The answer is no because they did not happen.
This was the best (and longest) IEP meeting I have ever had. There were ten people in the room, including Alex, the head of the athletics department, the basketball coach, all the service providers, the principal and a regular Ed teacher. I reminded the team we were not talking about problems, only solutions and I know we all had Alex's best interests at heart.
I explained that Alex was transparent and does not have the ability to compartmentalize her emotions, like most of us. If a kid is mean to her, or she feels excluded from something it affects her entire being. Her demeanor becomes withdrawn and downright sulky. I suggested we all try to think like Alex and figure out why she is upset and not penalize her for being upset. This is particularly true with the basketball team.
The basketball concerns were addressed and rectified. Alex will play in every game as long as she participates in practice. Her time with the counselor will be upped. We have requested more speech time, again. The regular Ed teachers will work with the speech therapist to look at ways to reinforce speech goals in the classroom. A weekly email will go to the entire team with comments expected from all. Goals will be reiterated, reinforced and modified for all people who work with Alex.
Yes I am a broken record, but at least I am predictable, and I believe successful.