I started tearing up during my kindergartener’s IEP meeting this year. Not really a shock- I teared up at last year’s too. But this time, it was for a completely different reason.
If you’ve never had to sit in an IEP meeting, basically it’s meant to be a comprehensive plan to help your child in school. An Individualized Education Plan. It states your child’s areas of strength and of weakness. The reason for the IEP being in place is on there(how they qualify- what their special needs are). And then goals are set- specific goals and how they will be monitored for progress.
Last year, there wasn’t much to say in areas of strength- other than saying that he can be a sweet boy. The areas of weakness seemed endless when listed out. And in the area for parents’ goals for the future, the only thing I could think of was to say that I wanted him to be able to function in school and get through a school day.
Last year, he had multiple goals in the areas of reading, writing, math, and behavior. Along with needing occupational and speech therapy services. He would spend two hours a day with a special education teacher plus additional time each week with OT and Speech, with part of that time being focused on his behavior. He was considered a “resource” student due to the amount of time he’d be served outside of the regular education classroom.
When the goals were set in each of the areas, I remember thinking how far he’d have to go to meet each of them, but how even if he managed to do that in that year, he would still be so far behind where he needed to be by this point in his kindergarten year.
It all seemed so overwhelming.
But this year. Oh, the changes in the past year for my Little Bear.
This year: so many areas of strength listed and very few weaknesses. My goal for his future? For him to go to college.
All those goals that I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to meet? He kicked each one of them squarely in the ass: not only meeting but exceeding them. He wasn’t just meeting his IEP goals, he was meeting or exceeding the regular kindergarten standards.
He no longer needs to have any IEP goals in the areas of reading, math, or behavior.
His speech therapist expects him to “graduate” from speech within the year.
He only has a few writing goals and will only spend 30 minutes of each day outside of the regular classroom. So he’s not a “resource” student anymore, he’s a “regular education” student. As for the behavior goals, all gone, too. They did say he could have up to 15 minutes a day on a consultative/as-needed basis, just in case he did need it, but they said they didn’t really expect him to need it very often.
I knew he was doing better. I meet regularly with his teacher. And I can just tell he had been doing better- it extended to at home, as well.
But to have it all laid out in the IEP like that, so clear. I started tearing up.
And the IEP team laughed and rejoiced with me, saying how much they love meetings like this. My son is so very fortunate to have such an amazing team helping him. I’m thankful to everyone who helped and is continuing to help my son. I probably need to find some super amazing teacher appreciation gifts for them this year, huh?
And my little man worked so hard this past year.
I’m so very proud of him. It’s been a long road and I’ve cried so much throughout it all- it’s been a nice change to be crying happy tears.
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