IEP=Individualized Education Plan or Incapable Education Play?

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So the IEP season is here. How are you feeling about your child’s IEP? There have been some discussions on IEP at Blossomville. Some parents are happy, some other are frustrated.

Here are some comments from Blossomvillers:

  • My son is in Grade 8 now. After numerous follow up, we finally received the so called IEP. Unfortunately IEP of this year is completely a joke. It is very much inconsistent from last year. Simply put, it didn't reflect my son's uniqueness at all. i.e. My son has big difficulties for reading comprehension. On the IEP, school still put him in Grade 8 level without any modification. My son is unable to deal with word problem in maths. On the IEP, school just simply cancelled the test about it. My son has a weak social skill. On the IEP, school repeated this problem over and over again with the alternative terminology without offering any organized help.
  • We are frustrated with IEP's, too. Every time it's such a long document, but it's always about what my child is going to do (goals) without specifics on how to get there. It's supposed to be individualized but I think it's clearly templated every time. I feel like it takes a lot of time for the teacher to develop it. So to be fair I won't blame the teacher. I actually came across an article, which explains well why IEP's are failing. 
  • Haha love it! "Incapable Educational Play". I think sadly, fundamentally, the problem with the IEP's, is that we parents believe our kids can do a lot and have a lot of potential, while some teachers/schools (I won't say all of them, I've heard stories of exceptional teachers) feel it's more about entertaining the kids. Making sure they are happy and safe seems to be their biggest goal. That's a genius acronym.
  • I have a friend who is really frustrated by her child's IEP and they made an effort to meet with the team at school to discuss the IEP. I can imagine that the older the kids are, the more academics that are involved, IEP could become more of an issue. My daughter's IEP has very little academics involved at this point (sadly...but it's OK she's improving) and her teacher is amazing. So I don't really have much complaints about my daughter's IEP at the moment but I am certainly not looking forward to the future based on the comments above...
  • From my own experience and what I've heard from others, I really feel that the school staff in the public system are not adequately trained in working with our children. Although they are nice people and have the best intentions, they are often not able to understand the challenges beyond symptoms, let alone developing strategies in overcoming these challenges. We as parents must play a more active role in this IEP process. Please do not sign off if you have concerns. Try to arrange a meeting with the teacher, the principal and school board support person (SERT?) to discuss and improve it.
  • I also think communications between school and family are important. In our case, I find sometimes what's in the IEP are beyond reach to my daughter. I appreciate that she believes in her, but also believe "success is the best motivation" as you nicely said on your site. We've had a few discussions with the teacher and the IEP has been modified along the way.
  • You are so lucky that the teacher believes in your daughter and made an IEP that you think is beyond reach. I would just LOVE that if it happens to my son! I want to set the bar high with something challenging so that my son can work hard to learn and achieve! Our kids are so smart that sometimes they deceive us simply because they cannot express or they do not care to express and show us what they can do. Have more faith in your daughter and she might surprise you :)
  • In my son's case, he just transferred to a new school. He doesn't care to show the teacher what he knows when asked questions. As a result, the teacher set a very low expectation in IEP that really concerned me. My husband and I met with the teacher and school board therapists explaining what he can do at home and at his sessions with his private tutors. There was a huge discrepancy in his performance at school largely due to his poor social skills and lack of motivation. The teacher has agreed to modify the IEP. However, we all had to agree to strive a balance between what he knows and what he can prove he knows. From our point of view, he needs to learn what he has not already known. From school's point of view, he needs to learn to show other people what he has already known. I totally agree that non-performing is certainly his weakness, but that is an area to work on for behavior and social skills, and really shouldn't slow down his learning in other areas!

Once a parent shared this picture with us and said that’s how he felt every time he had to search for a new school for his autistic child. We feel for him and his family. Despite the special needs our children have, we parents hold high hopes and work hard with our children. School is probably the most important partner on this journey. We are not looking for a day care. We want our children to learn and to blossom and to achieve their best potential. We believe in conversations. More communications will lead to better understandings, and better understandings will lead to better results. We encourage our families to share how they feel, gratitude or frustration, with their school partners. We also encourage parents share your experiences and advice at Blossomville. Those will inspire others.