James 4:1-3 NIV
IEP meetings are part of life when you have a child with delays or disabilities. These meetings are often dreaded by parents and can be seen as a source of stress or anger.
These meetings make us parents confront our child’s difficulties and challenges. We must look at where our children are academically, socially, and functionally. We are sometimes given numbers and scores that try to explain to us how our child is performing and how this may impact their future. We may discuss problems in school or home and try to come up with possible solutions. Every once in a while, important decisions must be made about placement changes, minutes needed in therapy, or a need for an individual aide.
It’s easy to find articles or advice that suggest things like:
When I hear things like this, I have to wonder if we as parents see our view as THE right one without giving the school a fair chance to explain themselves. What if everyone came to the IEP meeting ready to discuss the child’s strengths and needs and come to a place of understanding that would be beneficial to the child?
After a disappointing meeting, there may be some temptation to share your frustrations with others. If you seek out other parents in the school to confide in and possibly swap IEP stories and outcomes, is that Godly? If we spread our “bad” experience with a school or specific professional to other parents, are we not in the wrong? If we try to warn other parents about a certain therapist, have we checked our motives first? Are we making other parents dread something by spreading our thoughts?
This is the time of year when many teams will convene to make decisions. Let's go into these with prayer and open minds. Let's not dread the meetings. Let's be thankful for the advice and wisdom that other professionals have to give us. Finally, let's pray for wisdom for EVERYONE on the team, so that your child can have the life God intended.
PRAY: God, I ask for your help as I participate in my child’s IEP meeting. Help me to hear your voice and represent you during the meeting. Help your desires for my child to be my desires. Help me to know when to be assertive and when to compromise. Bless those who pour into my child at school every day. Refresh their spirits and give them new ideas too. Let the people around my child have the best intentions in mind as they make decisions. Help us all to walk in unity when our team comes together. Amen.