IEPs & Parents.

20 Mar

At this time of year, the IEP meetings (which, for many of my kids, are also transitioning-into-kindergarten meetings) just keep on comin’. Now, I’m only in my second year as a speech-language pathologist. I would never claim to be an expert on communicating with parents, in and outside of IEP meetings. I do, however, believe in describing a student’s strengths and positive qualities. I’m not saying to sugarcoat things. If a student isn’t producing /k/ & /g/ after a whole lot of instruction or is unable to answer questions, even given visual cues/verbal prompts…I’m going to have to tell a parent that, and tell them what my strategy is for moving forward. But I’m also going to come armed with the progress their child has made. The AWESOME 5-word utterance I scribbled down from playing at the sensory table the other day. The way they always greet peers. That, even if an activity is challenging for them, they put in their best effort and stay on-task. That I’ve consistently seen them share items with peers and make eye contact when doing so. That they’re starting to self-monitor speech errors and that this is a wonderful step in the right direction. That they’ve been asking questions and this is a huge deal!

Being in preK, sometimes we are the first people to express to a parent that we have concerns regarding their child’s speech/language development; that, no, we don’t feel comfortable saying that they will just “catch up” on their own. That we would recommend additional support, and this would come in the form of an “Individualized Education Plan.” I’m absolutely still learning, but I do feel a lot of responsibility with this, both in terms of my relationship with parents and their children.

One of my co-workers, who is also mom to three great kids, has said something along these lines that always resonates with me: We are their first experience with school. They are going to be in school for a long time, and it might be a challenging place for them. We want their first experience to be as positive as possible.

Do I care about students making significant progress on their speech/language goals? Absolutely. But I also care about kids (and their parents!) developing positive associations with school and speech therapy early on in life. And, while I could blabber on forever, I started this post with the intent of sharing the perspectives of others. Here are a few posts from parent perspectives or written with parents in mind that I loved reading. Any others you’d recommend? I know that I’d especially like to read more from parents!

“IEPs and Expectations: There’s No Box for the Good Stuff” by Laura D. (parent, SLP, & my former professor/boss)

From The Bearded Iris (who I find to be hilarious): “And that’s why Speech Pathologists are bad mofos”, a post written when her son was referred for a speech screening, & a little IEP hilarity.

“I don’t like my child’s speech therapist” (+what to do!) & “My Mantras as an Early Interventionist” by Kim Rowe, MA CCC-SLP

“Giving the News” by Sharon Gretz, M.Ed.

Therapy vs. Intervention by Cari Ebert, M.S. CCC-SLP

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One Response to “IEPs & Parents.”

  1. kimrowe925 April 4, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Thanks so much for linking to Little Stories! I look forward to connecting with you more!

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