Thursday, February 7, 2013
Today is Maggie's IEP meeting.
If there's anyone out there that doesn't know what that means, I will explain it. For typical children, there is a curriculum set by the district or state. A child with disabilities often cannot keep up with the curriculum and needs something tailored to meet his/her specific educational needs. Every child receiving special education services has an Individual Education Plan (IEP). This is basically a road map for meeting the child's specific education goals outlining the services and accommodations the child needs. The annual IEP meeting is the time the road map is written. It is done by the IEP Team, which consists of those who will be working with the child or who the parents believe should be working with the child, representatives of the school district, the parents and sometimes the child themselves. (Maggie will not be attending.)
For many people the IEP meeting is a battle for services. That has never been my experience. Maggie has been very well served by the San Francisco Unified School District since she started at three years old. Perhaps that is because her needs are so extreme and her response to the teachers and therapists is so good, perhaps just because they want to do the right thing. Who knows. It's working, so I don't care.
The meeting is long, 2+ hours, and each of the people who work with her gives a report. That means the classroom teacher, the orientation and mobility teacher, the vision teacher, the speech therapist, the AAC specialist, the physical and occupational therapists and more. Maggie has probably 10 different people who work with her. They all love her and want her to succeed and I am very grateful for their dedication.
Even though I don't expect any problems, I am not looking forward to it. It's just a long hard meeting. This is where we take stock. I sit and listen to all her progress and realize another year has gone by. They are measuring Maggie against Maggie, as it should be. And she is always moving forward and she is extremely impressive and I am very proud.
But I will sit in there and realize she is almost 19 years old and we are excited that she can make complex sentences, and sometimes position herself to assist someone lifting her out of her wheelchair, and that her behavior when they are changing her diaper is improving.
These are all good things.
But it's a long hard meeting..