Why My Son's IEP Is Individualized and Not 'Just Like This One'

Imagine you were applying for the job. The job you have been waiting for. You spend hours updating your resume and filling out the application hoping to find a way to make yourself stand out. You want to do well during the interview and be successful if you are chosen for the job; the application is your ticket to success. Now imagine if the person reviewing your application skims over it because they have seen hundreds “just like this one” so they miss the critical points of your application, the individual qualifications that makes you, you.

Maybe you are lucky enough to still get the job, but, because the person in charge, the one who’s job it was to understand and recognize your qualifications, puts you in the wrong department. You aren’t really qualified to do this work but no one knows that, because no one took the time to read the details of your application. Now you are in way over your head and don’t know where to turn. You can tell your fellow co-workers know you don’t get it and you feel like a fish out of water. The job is no longer what it seemed. You feel let down and disappointed in yourself. How successful will you be if no one knows how to help you figure out the new job?

Now imagine you are a student with a disability. A student who wants nothing more than to do well and be successful like the rest of his peers. Hours have been spent on your IEP so the teachers will know your “qualifications,” but since a particular teacher has seen hundreds of IEP’s “just like this one,” they skim over it missing the details that make you unique and individualized. How successful will you be if no one knows how to teach you?To the teachers who do not skim over the IEP — the ones who recognize that even though the most recent IEP may look just like this one or just like that one, yet you still see the uniqueness of this student — from the bottom of my heart (and the hearts of other moms like me), thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

To the teachers who “skim,” please, I beg you to stop skimming. Please, please, please take the time to read the IEP…all of it…so you can know this student and that one. So you can see what makes the student sitting right before you unique and “qualified.”

After all, you are a teacher — somewhere along the way, someone took the time to read your application and know you.

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Editor’s note: This story has been published with permission from the author’s son.

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