IEP Team (Relax Mom - IEP Team that Cares!)

The end of the year is fast approaching and many of us have annual IEPs still to attend, but some of us have transition IEPs to attend.

We are waiting to have our transition IEP.

So many emotions are close to the surface. At the beginning of the year Yaakov’s, our youngest son, IEP eligibility code was changed from Speech and Language to Autism. 

I have a wonderful IEP team; the principal is one of a kind. She does what she can to see kids with special needs get the support they need.  For example, last year we wanted to move Yaakov out of the special day class, and his teacher felt, with support, he was ready. The principal came up with a plan to make Yaakov successful, placed him with an amazing 5th grade teacher. We have seen him blossom, socially and academically.  As much as I love the principal the teacher is just as wonderful. She has worked with Yaakov’s deficits and has made him into a successful student.

Through the years, we have had good placements and horrible placements. Sadly those horrible placements control my fear. It is the time he picked up a chair and threw it at the teacher (in kindergarten) that has me always saying what if he goes back to that behavior with a new placement. 

It is the time that he was placed with a teacher who may have had the credentials to teach, but she had no idea what she was doing. Pretty soon he was trying to run in front of cars and having nightmares of being smashed by buildings and school buses.

Now looking ahead moving to middle school has me scared like you wouldn’t believe.

It is the fear of my son getting older and we only have 7 more years before he is 18.  It isn’t the fear of the academics. He is smart and he may have to study harder, but I know he will do fine. It is the fear of the unknown. 

We haven’t had the transition IEP yet. I know what school is coming, but we haven’t signed the paper work saying he will be attending that school. We requested a Autism program and we don’t know if he was accepted into the program yet.

It is the fear of the unknown, if everything goes as planned will his anxiety pick up and will he throw a chair at the teacher. If it doesn’t go as we requested where will he go to school and can he handle mainstream in a middle school setting without losing it.

Now, the question comes down to am I worried about him or am I worried on what people will think of our family?

If I was going to be honest, I would say I am concerned if he loses it what will people think of me?  I was devastated when he threw the chair at his teacher in the kindergarten mainstream class.  I was sure those parents of the typical developing students couldn’t believe I had a child so out of control. It didn’t take me long to isolate myself from the parents of his kindergarten class. I had been telling the school for months his behavior was out of control and they needed to be prepared, but they didn’t listen and then the chair went flying.  I was so sure that parents blamed me for the possible safety issue that I could never let it go. 

As I work in the special needs community supporting families I cannot help but have the fear that if my child isn’t doing well, would parents really want me to work with their kids. 

Fear does strange things to us, and as much as I know how ridiculous it is, the fear paralyzes me with the unknown.

There are so many helpful tips out there for how to read an IEP, prepare for an IEP, and so on, but, nothing on how to control your anxiety.

As I prepare for the IEP, I find comfort in having an awesome IEP team who can certainly give supportive tips to the new school on what best works for Yaakov.  This year our principal highly recommends the middle school’s principal and I have heard amazing things about him in the special needs community.  I have to make sure my fear and anxiety is under control because for this IEP Yaakov will be joining us and we have come so far I cannot allow my own fears to play out and affect the young man who will be joining middle school in three short months.