Saturday, November 16, 2013

Guest Post: IEP a teacher’s perspective …the word is Humanity

You've been with me over the past weeks, or even the past years as I've gone through IEP meeting after IEP meeting- some good, some bad, some leaving me celebrating and some leaving me in tears but through them all, the emotions leading up to each and every meeting have never changed. IEP meetings are hell for the parents, there's no question about that. But, I did have a question.... what are those meetings like for the teacher? What do the teachers want to say? I asked some teachers. This is my friend Lori from I'm Bob.

In addition to being a rock star mommy to Bob and the teenager, blogger at I'm Bob, and President of Bob's Facebook Fan Club, Lori has a Masters Degree in education and spent more than a decade of her life dedicated to teaching our children.

Lori wrote this post and graciously allowed me to publish it here for you...

  IEP a teacher’s perspective …the word is Humanity

It has been a year and a half since my last IEP meeting. A year and a half since I sat across the table from parents to discuss their child’s future. A year and a half from feeling the gut wrenching hurt of telling a parent where and how their child struggles and how ineptly as a school system we are going to try and remedy this. It has been a year and a half that I have not seen a parent cry or sit there like a deer in the headlights while the committee *the team* explains their child’s educational plan. It’s been a year and a half since I was in a classroom molding young minds, don’t laugh, moreover doing what I love. Because a year and a half ago, my son was diagnosed with autism and I left the children I advocated for, to do so for my own.

On this incredible journey, and it is incredible, along with awe inspiring and humbling as a human being. I have searched out others going through the same. In doing so I have found a wonderful community of mothers and fathers, writers, advocates, and truly kind and inspiring people.
I read their blogs, no I devour them. This time of year the majority of them center around IEP meetings for their children. They never cease to amaze me. The amount of knowledge that abounds from the parents. How well they are prepared for these meetings with enough ammo to take out a third world country in the battle for their child’s future. However, from my experience in a small town, very few, if any had the skills these other parents have, with the exception of one mother who struck fear in hearts of administrators and counselors alike, she always made me smile at her tenacity and knowledge of her child’s plan and rights. She truly was one bad ass!

One of my favorite momma bloggers….HomeStyle Mama with a side of Autism....had this to say in one of her latest blogs.

I guess I can’t blame them for their assumption that I, as the parent, would be ok with sketchy details and minimal information because I’m starting to learn that a lot of parents aren’t demanding details, and not just on the IEPs. They are so busy with their lives, so trusting of the schools to do what’s right, that they don’t want to be involved or don’t know how to do it. Yes, I know that’s a blanket statement and not true for everyone but all these years that I couldn’t do it, plus what I’m seeing in the schools now that I actually have a chance to show up leads me to believe it’s true for more than some. Everyone has their reasons, and I’m not saying they’re wrong.

Parents who are less versed in the process and understanding of their child’s IEP, do just that. They trust. They trust in *the team*, to do what’s best for their child. As a teacher, no as a child advocate, if you sit across the table from a parent who needs your help for the betterment of their child’s education, for God’s sake, help them. Help them understand their child’s plan, help them know their rights, just help them period. Exercise your God given gift of humanity; kindness or compassion for others. Speak for those who do not have the knowledge or experience to navigate this difficult system.

Just help….it’s the right thing to do.

Love and hugs,
Aka former teacher, advocate, Bob’s mommy

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