We recently went through the process of getting an Individualized Education Program for one of our sons. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom I was a teacher so I had been in IEP meetings before but having this experience from the parental perspective was new to me and it gave me a new perspective. Now, everyone is different so your experience may be different but I want to share about it in case it might help other parents as they work their way through the process.
First, let me say that everyone we have worked with has been wonderful. They have been helpful, polite, and kind. Even so, this process has been hard. It has been hard emotionally. The emotions really hit me during the Evaluation Team Report meeting. The ETR meeting is the one that happens once everyone on your child’s team has completed their evaluations you have a meeting to review the results of those evaluations and determine if you child is eligible to receive services.
Each team member will read through and talk about the results of their time spent evaluating your child and in doing so they will list off a whole bunch of things your child can’t do. Things that they should be able to do. This is the part that I found difficult. It made me sad, it made me worried for the future, and it made me feel guilty. I felt as though every deficiency of my child was my own, in a way.
Now I will say that everyone on my son’s team also said some very nice things about him, spoke about his strengths, and gave a very positive prognosis for the future. And I know it’s totally a necessary part of the process to go through everything. But it was still hard for me.
And it might be for you too. I hope that your child also has an excellent team on your side. But even if you don’t I want you to know a few things-
If you look hard enough, every kid has some things that they need to work on. Yes, some are harder than others, but your kid is not the only one.
They will list off a long list of things your kid can’t do, but remember, there are so many things he or she can do! Your child is not defined by the things he or she cannot do.
You’re an amazing parent who is working to get your kid the help her or she needs.