Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
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I am an OT who has worked in schools in both California and Wyoming. I don't know the laws in Maryland specifically, but I can tell you a little bit about the IEP process. IEP are developped to address the needs of special education students. For one thing, in both states that I've worked, if your child is performing in the average range for skills required for his education, he would NOT qualify for special ed. therefore for an IEP. So you may have nothing to worry about if he is performing average on the testing. Also, I want you to know that YOU as a parent, are also a vital part of the IEP process. Make sure that you go there prepared with questions and also with your own goals. What do you want Matthew to be able to achieve in a year? Your goals can be academic, social (behaviour), self-help (can he dress himself?..) gross motor, fine motor etc.. If Matthew has difficulty dealing with sensory information (loud noise, tactile defensiveness...) or has difficulty with using his fine motor skills to write or cut or tie his shoe laces, or difficulty with his gross motor skills (coordination), he might qualify for Occupational Therapy. If he has problem with his speech, he might qualify for Speech Therapy. I know that I have provided services to home schooled children in California through the school district for which I worked. The parent came to see me at the school on a weekly basis for therapy and I designed a program with the parents for them to implement at home. If your IEP team is a good team, they will work with you to help you achieve the goals that you have set for your son. Unfortunately, I know that sometimes school personnel can be very judgemental and feel that THEIR goals are the best ones, and not listen to the parents. But if you go to the IEP mtg informed of your rights, you have a better chance to have an IEP that meets your goals for your child.
Also, I want to warn you that sometimes school professionals, can be very negative when discribing your child. They will mostly list what your child CAN'T do as opposed to what your child CAN do. Here is a suggestion that a parent once did at an IEP mtg: the mom brought in a list of positive things that her child could do. From there she told us what she wanted her child to accomplish next. She never said that her child couldn't do certain things, only what she could do, and what her next goals were. It was great!
Good luck with the meeting. Let us know how it turns out!