"I'm not sure what just happened but we just left an IEP meeting smiling. Thank you! Definitely feeling a change in momentum. That was great!" -Kim
There's nothing better than receiving an email with the words above after an IEP meeting. Kim, the mom who is feeling the momentum change, has been playing the "long game" this year with her daughter's education. In other words, things needed to be changed, but we worked together and changed them slowly. Gained trust with the staff. Showed them that we wanted to collaborate. And it wasn't always easy for mom... I'm sure you can relate!
Being an IEP advocate for the past 21 years, you would assume that I spend a lot of my time in mediation or due process. I don't. Or you might assume that the school districts put their defenses up when I attend meetings. They don't. Maybe you assume an advocate is just for when times are critical and things are going wrong... not always.
I actually spend most of my time coaching parents on what to ask for in their child's IEP. How to make the tough decisions of this goal vs that goal. How to decide which fights to pick and which ones to let go. How to become an equal member of the IEP team and be respected as the expert of your child while also building up your child's team as the experts at school.
This coaching and guidance through the IEP process helps prevent the sleepless nights, mediation meetings and tissues at the IEP table.
Here are just a few strategies we used today at Kim's IEP meeting, that can help you take your child's education to the next level:
1. Praise to the team for putting together a draft prior to the IEP meeting so we could prep and put together a list of questions.
2. Praise to the team when we saw areas of the IEP that were reaching high for gained skills during the next school year.
3. Asking questions, instead of making demands that things change. Example: Can you tell me why you chose to write the goal this way vs that way? OR I don't see the skill of applying the math she's learning in real-life problems, can we please add that skill in?
Ready for more help to move your child's education forward? JOIN ME in the Online IEP Help Center... joining the Help Center is exactly how Kim got started in changing the momentum in her child's IEP. I can't wait to help you get rid of the tears and sleepless nights and move into being the true advocate you are for your child's education!