The Last IEP
Cameron’s final IEP meeting has been scheduled for the end of this month. As with all things concerning Cameron lately, the thought of this final IEP meeting is contributing to the knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach. I’m wondering if this final IEP meeting will be conducted along the lines of, “Yep, he’s on track to graduate in June. Good luck with that.” Or, perhaps the meeting will be more focused on getting ready for life after high school. The latter is what I will insist upon, of course, but will my insistence be enough? Will a representative from our local Voc/Rehab agency actually attend the meeting in person this time? Am I going to have to assert Cameron’s rights, and will the tone of the meeting turn toward confrontational? I hate being confrontational!
Cameron has essentially had an IEP since he was 4 years old. You would think with 14 years of experience under my belt, I would have the process down pat. And yet, as I’m about to embark on Cameron’s last Multidisciplinary Team Meeting for the purpose of updating his IEP, I feel somewhat unprepared. I guess part of the problem stems from the fact that I never see the IEP in action. That’s not to say that Cameron’s teachers aren’t following his IEP … it’s just I’ve never walked in, objectives in hand, and observed a class where striving towards those objectives is apparent. In all honesty, the vast majorities of the IEP meetings I’ve participated in have been ones where I’ve simply nodded my head in agreement with the objectives proposed, and signed where I’ve been asked to sign. Two years ago, I wrote a column about an empowering IEP meeting  I had prepared for in advance. Yeah … that was a one and only so far. And all those recommendations I felt so great about getting added to his IEP that year? Well … I can’t say that they weren’t implemented in the classroom, but I can say I never saw clear evidence of them achieving the measurable result.
So, is the moral to my story that it doesn’t matter whether or not I prepare for the IEP meeting? No, that would be the easy way out. The moral here is that the IEP doesn’t begin and end with the annual meeting. And I need to be especially well prepared for the meeting this year. I’m going to pay close attention to the transition portion of the plan, and do my homework beforehand. I will be spending some quality time on Wrightslaw.com , just to brush up on Cameron’s rights. And just as I do my homework beforehand, I will do my homework afterwards as well. I’m going to keep tabs on those objectives this year. As Cameron has reached the age of majority, he will be signing his own IEP this year. I’m going to see to it that he’s fully engaged in upcoming meeting and understands the objectives and agrees that they will help him in the classroom. So there’s my plan. Hopefully my plan will benefit and compliment Cameron’s plan. Might as well make this last one count.