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10 Things I Always Bring to My Child's IEP Meeting


It’s almost that time, time for another IEP meeting.

This is one of the most draining and adrenaline-building experiences I have had to endure in my years of parenting. It can be challenging to prepare and walk out feeling satisfied.

I do not always know or like the person I become in preparation for these meetings or at these meetings. It brings out a fire in me I did not know I possessed.

I have created a list of the things I bring to IEP meetings. Some are not items you can hold physically, but you can mentally or emotionally, and that may make all the difference. Here they are:

1. Strength. I don’t mean the physical kind. I need the strength to bite my lip, squeeze my hand and hold my breath. These are the things I do when I have to listen to the challenges and the goals not achieved. I know they exist, but it doesn’t make it easier.

2. Honesty. No one in that room knows my child as well as me. I will say all I can to be his advocate and defend all I can. I will also challenge what needs to be.

3. Perspective. Many in this room who are telling me what they think is best can benefit from some perspective about our everyday experiences. It really opens eyes and minds.

4. Kindness. I will always start with kindness and the hope that we can all come together. I believe I am more clearly heard when we can talk with one another and not at.

5. Questions. Many of them. There is no wrong question. I need info.

6. Hope. Because I need to have hope. I need to believe in the system and that we can come together for my child to succeed.

Then the items that are more tangible…

7. Tissues. I do tend to cry. My sleeves have been known to look terrible after these meetings.

8. Notes. Clear notes and examples of any and all situations needing to be discussed. You cannot be too prepared. Have a pen, too!

9. Gum or mints. I need to have a distraction.

And then, a tool I learned about that has made a big difference in our lives…

10. Our advocate. I like the security of an expert hired by us to protect our child and know the laws/rights. I am not an expert at that and feel safer with this. These papers are grueling to understand, and I know my weaknesses.

Anything else you would “pack”? Please share!

I never feel like I’m doing enough, I never think I know enough, and I always wonder if it is the right thing.

I do believe that teachers/educators want our children to succeed. I think the breakdown is so frequently the system. A system I believe has been created to fit into a square box. This box can no longer house so many of our kids, and the teachers can try to be creative, but the system might not allow it. This has to change.

I won’t stop until it does. Our kids deserve that.

Here’s to our kids and the incredible advocates we are!

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 10 Things I Always Bring to My Child's IEP Meeting