Friday, January 05, 2007

January IEP's Are Here Again

January-February IEP meetings can be among the hardest for teachers and parents alike. While some IEP meetings are regularly scheduled for January or February, many occur because the program is not working and a parent has requested a special meeting.

Chances are you have experienced what I call the “dumb parent treatment” in dealing with some professional relative to your child. Here’s my description of it:

“The “dumb-parent treatment” is an unspoken attitude that seems to imply parents do not understand their children or that parents’ opinions are unimportant. If the parent sees the child as functioning at a higher level than the school or the physician does, then the parent is not viewing the child objectively. It can be conveyed subtly or not so subtly, but the attitude says you are only a dumb parent who does not know anything. How dare you question the opinions of professionals? It is something most parents will deal with at some point in their children’s lives. It is not necessarily about the parent’s intelligence or sophistication. I have spoken with professionals in various fields who were treated similarly when they attended meetings regarding their own children. Excerpt used by permission of the publisher from "Parenting Your Complex Child" by Peggy Lou Morgan © 2006 Peggy Lou Morgan, published by AMACOM, division of American Management Association, New York, New York.

The stress of these meetings are has been memorialized on a coffee mug which reads "I survived an IEP". I love it.

I have put a new article on my website called Team Building Advocacy which you might find helpful in preparing for your next IEP.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
Blogs: Amazon Author Connect, Parenting a Complex Special Needs Adult and Lighthouse Parents
Websites: Parenting Your Complex Child and Lighthouse Parents
Club Mom Articles
Parenting Your Complex Child Yahoo Group


Dream Mom said...

I love the mug idea! LOL!

I have been fortunate over the years to have been taken very seriously. I remember my first IEP and my IEPs for many of my son's early years. I always made certain that I wore my business suits to the meeting as if I were meeting with my biggest client. I was after all, advocating and negotiating for my own Dear Son. You have to have a pretty tough skin for those meetings. I had to think of myself as an advocate first instead of my son's mother in order to survive the early ones. I would always stand firm on what I considered my non-negotiable items and made sure I had physician letters to back things up. In time, the coordinator would call me a week or so ahead to find out what I wanted and we'd have it all hammered out before the big day. I had to hire an attorney only once, many years ago. I am fortunate I am sure and I wouldn't wish these meetings on anyone!

Lora said...

Thank you so much for the information and insight, I will use it wisely for the next IEP meeting. In Anchorage I was always taken seriously and was considered to be a crucial part of the meeting but here in SC it was quite different and it sadens me. I found it to be frustrating and demeaning not to mention overwhelming that the whole thing seemed to be a wash. It was a learning experience and I shall grow from it and know that the next time I must make demands and be sure that there is not ridiculous conversations going on such as the one about someone's colonoscopy!

patti@strollerderby said...

Thanks for this. I'm facing an evaluation soon, and it's a rare occasion where the internet is actually making me feel better about it instead of scaring me more.