IEP: ‘Individualized Education Program, is a document that is developed for each public school child who needs special education.
Is your family’s story like ours?
It’s hard to know where to start the story of your own special needs adventure, right? It’s always a long and winding road… I’ll try to keep it brief here and just quickly tell you about my experience with public schools and IEPs. It was a huge struggle for us to get my son into the special education program when we lived in Hawaii. Eventually, when my son was in first grade, the school denied his eligibility any further for an IEP.
The biggest problem was that an IEP was the gateway to all of the tools he needed; including our access to applied behavioral analysis through our insurance. I soon started homeschooling him so that he could once again become eligible. Long after the fact, I found out that I had been largely unaware of my rights and options. I had never even heard of Special Education advocates until it was too late. Thankfully, homeschool has worked out beautifully for us. Even after we moved from Hawaii, we chose to stick with it! Not everyone has the option to homeschool though, so I want to make sure you know your rights and have the support you need. Even when you are in a great school district, it’s best to be well informed!
Keeping your “I” on the IEP
Luckily, the East Bay has great schools, but I was still so excited to find out that the Pleasanton PTA special needs committee is hosting a special event this February with the Special Education Advocacy Group (SEAG) . The event is called, “Keeping your ‘I’ on the IEP: The top 10 ways to improve your child’s special education program.” The Special Education Advocacy Group will be helping you to maximize the efficacy of your child’s IEP, regardless of the nature of their needs or disability. There’s also a “Q & A” portion of the evening, so rest assured, you will find great answers. The meeting will be held on February 2nd from 7-9pm; you can register for it here.
Support groups make a difference
Having support is so important in the day to day life of a special needs caregiver. Additionally, if you are new to the special needs tribe, it can be a lot to process all at once without a sounding board. That said, I also want to mention a few resources here as well. If you know anyone with a child with special needs, please be sure to share a link with them so they don’t miss the opportunity to attend the IEP meeting or any events with the Livermore Special Needs Group!
- Livermore Special Needs Parents Group- This group meets every 3rd Wednesday of the month (excluding Dec, Jul, and Aug) from 7-9pm. They offer support, as well as, informational speakers and training. They also have a Facebook group you can join today.
- Parents Helping Parents- This group also provides parent training, as well as a variety of support groups, and more.
- Special Needs Moms Network- This is a group of over 5,500 special needs moms with children of varying disabilities. You may find it’s a good place to ask for advice, vent, or find other mom’s who “get it”.
- Autism Dads Support- A lot of dads struggle with an Autism diagnosis and could use the support of this men-only group.