Making the IEP Work

I have attended hundreds of IEP meetings. The range of abilities varies within each classification and also in the manner of how the IEP is implemented. Sometimes the school does not have the resources to make the plan help the student maximize their unique abilities. Sometimes the teachers can’t navigate the constraints of their resources or the philosophy of the administration and their Child Study Team (the team that evaluates students to see if they need an IEP and creates the IEP that defines the services and accommodations that the child receives). With that said, what can the parent and student do?

The programs that I am familiar with allow students that are 14 or older to participate in the planning of their IEP. Before age 14, the child has very little input, except their ability to influence their parents that the classes are too hard or too easy or to help shape the parent’s view of the teacher or the school. If the parents believe that their child needs more assistance, more support and a reduction in what they have to do, the result is that the student is not trying to exceed the requirements that have been set, but are trying to do less than is expected. When a student on this path completes their education, are they able to compete for jobs?

I have been a guidance counselor in a public school for more than 20 years and I have approximately 25 years of progressively more senior experience in human resources with major corporations as well as over 25 years of competitive coaching experience. These experiences have helped me develop a clear view of what traits produce successful teams and individuals. A desire to be the best that you can be. The ability to continue working on goals, even when things get difficult. Having a support network that includes a mentor to help keep you focused on continued progress and etc.

My point is that we help able our students, our children, our employees, our team mates and co-workers by helping them able themselves, not limit themselves. I don’t want to tell someone that they can’t, but a degree of reality keeps all of us focused on realistic goals. Is there someone in your life that needs a mentor? What is stopping you from being a mentor? All the best to each of us that are trying to make our lives and the lives of our neighbors better.

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I have a BA in Psychology and a teaching certificate as a Special Education teacher. I have a MA in Student Personnel Services and I recently retired from my position as a Guidance Counselor. I have been active on advisory boards concerning disability issues for over 25 years. I also have over 25 years of business experience in Human Resources and Operations Management.

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