I was so impressed when my student’s school suggested that she attend her own IEP Meeting. As meetings go, IEP’s have the reputation of getting contentious rather quickly and losing sight of the real reason why parents, psychologists, teachers, learning specialists, principals, advocates, and attorneys are sitting at the round table in the first place– the student.
Humanizing PLOPs, Goals & Services
But something amazing happened when my 11-year-old student sat in the big chair between her learning specialist and her mother, and joined the conversation. Instead of a heated debate over standard deviations, we were able to humanize the plan of action and include her in the review of all of those Present Levels of Performance (PLOPs), Goals, and Services.
Our “adult speak” had to be tailored to her “kid level” of understanding. By doing so, it made all of the attendees that much more cognizant of what we were saying and how we were saying it. We asked for her input, addressed her concerns, and clarified her job to continue to work hard and work towards her very best.
It was probably the most honest, quick, and productive IEP I’d ever been to, and I have my student to thank for that.
Student “Buy In” & Self-Advocacy
My student felt important because she got to attend her own IEP, a key component to her “buy in” and, ultimately, her ownership over her own education. It was just as much a lesson for me as it was for her, and it got me thinking: taking into consideration age and appropriateness of course, perhaps having our students attend their own IEPs should be the best practice.
After all, what better way to meet her annual self-advocacy goal than to learn to advocate at her own IEP.
Christine Terry, J.D., is a Special Education Advocate & Founder of Terry Tutors. She created the One Comprehensive Wraparound Service for The Struggling Student, which includes Academic, Behavior, Special Education Advocacy, and School Placement services. Want to Know More? Head on over to TerryTutors.com.