Dear IEP Mom,

Dear IEP Mom,

It’s that season again.

IEP season, that is.  It’s the time of year when sleepless nights and anxiety-filled days all lead up to one single meeting that will determine the course of the next full year of your child’s school career.  That time when you sit alone at a table of teachers, therapists, and psychologists who all think they know your child’s needs better than you do, while you fight to prove otherwise.  A time when you struggle to maintain your composure while simultaneously jumping through hoops to make sure your child’s educational requirements will be adequately met.

I want you to know that you are not alone. That I am there, sitting right next to you.  I feel your frustration when it seems that no one at that table can hear you.  I too wonder why I can see them listening, but how they are not really hearing me.  I am also fighting back the tears as they list my child’s challenges but seem to want to provide little in the way of support—this phenomenon perplexes me as well.  I am your inner voice telling you to remain calm, reminding you that being strong and assertive does not mean having to yell.  My palms are sweating too, and my heart is also pounding—the constant drumbeat of, “Am I doing and saying enough?” is racing through my mind too.

I am here to tell you that you are doing enough.  You need to know that you are a superstar, a fighter in a way many parents can’t understand.  I want you to shrug off the belittling comments that you may hear from others—turn a deaf ear when someone says, “What’s the big deal, it’s just a meeting?”

It is a big deal; it’s not just a meeting, and unless you are going through it, you absolutely cannot understand the depth of its importance.  I too feel misunderstood sometimes, that many mommy friends just don’t understand my struggle.  I also feel alone and exhausted from trying to explain it.

Do you know how strong you are?  That you are your child’s single most important advocate, teacher, therapist, and psychologist?  That you wear many different hats every day just to make sure your child gets from the morning to the night successfully.  I know that, whether the teachers across the table from you see it or not.  You have the strength of 10,000 women!  You alone sit at this meeting to make sure that your child receives the educational support he or she needs—the support that he is legally entitled to which will allow him to successfully navigate the least restrictive educational environment.  I jump for joy right along with you when he thrives and hold him in comfort, crumbling silently inside, when he fails.  That’s right, IEP Mom, you are a rock, a warrior, and a hero!

I am right there fighting alongside of you.  We all are!  So, IEP Mom, go into that meeting with your head held high, your paperwork prepared, and your arguments rehearsed, as this is just another battle in the war that is your child’s education.  However, this time, know that every mom in a similar room, in a similar school, just a town, state, or country away is right there fighting along side of you day in and day out.


IEP meeting

6 thoughts on “Dear IEP Mom,

  1. Unfortunately…I have my daughters to day and they know I can’t afford an attorney or advocate so we are screwed!!! So sad they take advantage of our situations. Makes me ill…love it when they refuse to do anything to help your kid….

  2. We really do need to fight for what is best for our children. It can be tough to speak up sometimes, but it needs to be done. Don’t let administration intimidate you. They’re just as human as you are. While you know your child best, they know the school system best. If all goes as it should, you’re all deciding what is best for the student (your child).

  3. Pingback: Sunday Share: Week 15 | All In A Dad's Work

  4. Thank you for this post! I’m still trying to navigate through this whole world of IEPs, Assessments, Evals, Therapists, Doctors, etc. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  5. AHHH IEP’s the struggle is real. I have all of those same thoughts and emotions . Never knowing if I said enough, did enough. I’m not an education teacher​. I do my best to explain my feelings and thoughts. IEP meetings are sometimes painful. I have held it together many times during the meeting but as soon as I have gotten into the car I immediately start crying!!

  6. Last month was my first experience of an IEP meeting. I went into the meeting knowing everything I needed to know and even taught them a few things! Teddie starts reception in September and I’m worried sick, I’m hoping everything will be in place for when term starts!
    Teddie has complex needs and is non-verbal, using PECS to communicate, Teddie has been a learning curve for everyone, the school he is going to is just our village school, taught by locals who all have an opinion!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s