Friday, April 25, 2008


Elise's annual IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting was today.
I hate this process.
I hate that she's labeled as an IEP kid.
I hate having to discuss the goals and her progress (or lack thereof at times).
I hate the feeling that these other people are in a position of telling me what's best for my child.

My heart aches for my daughter who has these extra struggles.

How's that for a positive start to the meeting?

Seriously, I do like the folks that we work with in our school district and I do think they have Elise's best interests at heart. But the process is so convoluted and intimidating!

This is the folder holding her IEP paperwork. Looks like a mini-adoption file, doesn't it?!?

It's hard to read the sentence in photo above, but it just pulls at my heart:

"Elise can be difficult to understand at any time, but especially in the context of a noisy and busy classroom."

That sentence alone brought tears to my eyes and put me in momma bear mode ready to fight for my cub!

The upshot of the meeting...she's making progress. We knew that and everyone around the table agreed so that was positive. She's also well liked by teachers and her peers.

The bummer...the Speech therapist with whom she's been working for 3 years is moving to a new school in the district and, therefore, Elise will work with another therapist next year. I wasn't expecting that news (in fact, I walked into the meeting feeling relieved that AT LEAST she'd be working with Susan for another year!). We just love Susan, her therapist. She's very highly regarded in the district and really advocates strongly for Elise. Her new therapist also has an outstanding reputation but any change is difficult for Elise and causes some regression.

I was very proud of her at one point in particular (don't get me worng...I'm very proud of her progress over the year overall...she's been working so hard and that hard work is paying off!). The therapist pointed out the strong self-esteem Elise has developed. She doesn't see her speech differences as being a negative, just a fact. Similar to the fact that she has black hair. She just doesn't talk as well as other kids. Period. We've never seen the speech issues affect her self esteem at home and I was so proud of her for not letting it affect her self esteem at school. She's such a quiet kiddo at school that self-esteem and the ability to advocate for herself do worry me. Knowing how susecptible girls are to self-esteem issues, this honestly has been one of my big concerns.

So, on to 1st grade, a new teacher, a new classroom of kiddos and a new speech therapist. For a kid who doesn't handle change well, I know she will meet the challenges head on.

Way to go, Elise!

We are so proud of you!


Sandra said...

As a fellow mom to an "I.E.P. child", I understand what you are saying completely. Jazzie's I.E.P. meeting will be on May 12, and I am not looking forward to it. Believe it or not, Jazzie's file is at least twice as big!

Elise and Jazzie may be labeled as I.E.P. kids, but they are both AWESOME kids as well.

Just curious, has Elise ever been tested for any hearing loss??

Tammie said...

When I was in college studying education, I knew back then that I would never like the idea of labeling children. I had been labeled because of a speech impediment myself. To this day, I have problems if I'm tired or stressed out & have to concentrate rather hard when speaking.

I teach religious school at a local synagogue & too many parents don't make us aware of their children's needs for fear of having a label there also. I will approach the parents of any child that I sense has a need to chat with them. I've rarely been wrong in my assessments but always assure the parent that I'm here to help & ask how WE can work with their child to make things right.

It sounds like you have some wonderful people working with you & Elise.