My brother with Down syndrome has been staying with me for the past few days. We have had a blast chatting with all of you on Facebook. As I look back through our past few days, I've noticed something about everyone's comments and where you are cheering Robert on the most. When I shared with you the pic of Robert paying for a card game at Walgreens, using his employee discount and using both the keypad and cash to pay, there were sooo many of you that were excited for him using all of those skills AND having the kind heart to want to treat his nieces to a card game. Yesterday, he competed in Special Olympic Golf and we showed off his 3rd place medal. Woot! We loved your cheers for his great game played. I'm super proud of him for having great sportsmanship even though he didn't get the first place he really wanted. So today I'm back in the office and I'll be writing IEP goals and consulting with families in the Online Special Education Help Center for Parents. Parents will continue to ask me how I make decisions on good goals, bad goals, what to fight for, what to let slide. I will continue to share that the IEP document is supposed to highlight the most important things that are needed to prepare a child for the future. From your comments and cheers about my brother... you know what is important, you just may not have figured out how to get it. Numbers help my brother understand all of the sports he loves, this week it is the love of golf and watching the All Star baseball game. Reading helps my brother shop, decide what to watch on tv and catch up on his sports apps on his phone. Technology (iphone) keeps him connected to our mom while she is traveling (for only the 2nd time in her life without my brother, YAY MOM!) They are texting, calling, Facetiming and using both simple words and pictures to communicate dozens of times throughout the day. Robert is also making his way around many new social situations since he is out of routine by staying with me. I have to say that I love his abilities to help out with housework and I don't even ask! He's pulling his weight around here and going above and beyond. THESE SKILLS are exactly why I teach parents how to use the special education laws and unspoken rules to prepare their child for further education, employment and independent living. Not one of you care what level my brother reads at, how many math problems he can do in a minute or if he spells every word correctly. You love to see him using the skills he has, being active, enjoying many activities, holding a job, being part of his community and being with his family. There is a way to get these outcomes into your child's IEP without giving up or lowering standards. You never should hear a team say "we are no longer working on those skills"....if you know in your gut your child your child can learn more in the area the team is giving up on. Your child should be working towards being a LIFE LONG LEARNER. I truly believe this school year could be the best school year ever, but the key is knowing what you want from the IEP in specific, measurable words. I'll help you get there. With Hope & Determination, Catherine Whitcher, M.Ed Ready for more help now?