Parents that have had this experience can probably relate to the anxiety that can go into having one of these meetings. I have heard of several tales of IEP meetings from hell from other parents and I have also had my share. In Jake's short 8 years of life, I have attended many IEP meetings. I usually go into each meeting with my guard up and am prepared for a fight and it is a time where my assertive out spoken personality comes in handy.
That being said I would like to backup a minute. I have made the decision to move Jake and myself to our happy place. Moving Jake from one school to the next takes a lot of planning and preparation. Being that he is visually impaired there are a lot of moving parts that go into the process of making sure his needs are met. I have also decided to move him before the school year is over which is added pressure on him, me and the IEP team. This was a difficult decision but one that I thought long and hard over. I am confident this is what is best for Jake and me in our new chapter.
So, as I walked into Jake's IEP meeting(5 minutes late-not a very good impression). I felt very nervous. Jake was with me this time because I wanted them to get to know him. I just want to say that this was the first time I have brought Jake with me. I do not like talking about him like he isn't there but I am so happy he was there. It was an intimidating room for an 8 year old. 8 adults with notebooks and laptops all asking questions about him and talking about him. I will say this was my Most proud MAMA moment. Jake rocked it!!! He was articulate with his words and explained to everyone what his day looks like and what his needs are. He explained to them what he likes and what he doesn't and what is hard for him. He explained his vision and why things are hard for him. As he spoke I surveyed the room to see reactions, facial expressions and body language(something I do a lot at work-habit). I could see that they were all just as floored by this little 8 year old as I was.
This group of educators really impressed me with their caring and compassion for Jake and the desire to meet his needs. I have never left a meeting feeling as confident as I did and that they are genuinely going help my son get the best education they can provide. They helped put this Mama Bear at ease with my nervousness about switching his school. Let the adventure begin
Stay tuned for more tales of our Happy Place and Jake's new adventures in his new school.