I finally arrived in Omaha, Nebraska at 1a.m. after a 14 hour travel day. Now keep in mind I could've driven to Nebraska in 8 hours, but I'm trying not to think about that! Thank goodness the Residence Inn had a wonderful breakfast for me the next morning and a comfortable place to work in my room. It's been years since I've stayed at a Residence Inn and I'm so very happy to have had their hospitality during this trip!
After a full morning of work and rest... it was time to present workshops in Omaha. First, I have to thank the Down syndrome Alliance of the Midlands for bringing me out to speak, not only to parents, but also to present a teacher workshop. I LOVE when I get to work with "both sides" of the IEP table. It's truly the only way to keep the child first. We did do the workshops separate, so everyone felt comfortable asking questions, but it was an awesome experience to work with everyone and EVERYONE wanted to to truly make a difference in their upcoming IEP meetings.
A teacher walked up to me after I was done teaching the "professionals IEP workshop" and said... I'm so relieved to know that advocacy doesn't have to be scary. My very first IEP meeting, as a new teacher a few months ago, included an advocate and it was a scary experience. After this workshop I know that I don't have to be scared and that advocacy can be a win for everyone involved. YES!
Then a veteran teacher approached and said that "In 37 years she had never heard IEPs presented this way and she was inspired for the first time in a long time to take this information and go apply it to her students".
Here's a Quick IEP TIP behind the scenes at the parent workshop. Often parents feel bullied about signing papers and feeling locked into what forms require for their child. So many times this is unnecessary and parents CAN customize a form and sign when they are ready....
After a full day of workshops and finally getting a good night's rest, it was time for coffee, phone consults and a plane trip back (this time everything went as planned!). I can't wait to return to help more parents & teachers in Omaha... SOON!
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