We are listening. We heard a sense of hope but also overwhelm from some of our Episode 2 listeners. You took the conversation further, asking, “How do we hold up our children’s strengths when we are navigating systems that need to zoom in on deficits and struggles? How do we communiate so that we feel comfortable knowing our children are listening?” We don’t have all the answers, but we’re having a conversation about our experiences stretching between deficits and challenges and assets and strengths. In this episode, we offer a mix of strategy and encouragement to try, try again.
We discussed communication aids for IEP meetings and appointments:
1) Jot down “what’s working/what’s not working” with your child as a check-in strategy. For more structure, print or copy your child’s schedule (use terms school uses for subjects, spaces, etc.) and have him mark what’s working/what’s working. It may require several small conversations over time. Also, remember that hallway transitions and other unstructured, in between moments may not be on the schedule, but often pose additional challenges for our kids. Ask about hallway and line-up time, etc.
2) Beth mentioned a brief “Celebrations and Challenges” sheet she creates for pediatrician well visits. Keep it brief and focused on your child.
3) We liked this Self-Awareness Worksheet from www.understood.org both as a self-advocacy builder and as a check-in and communication tool.
Including your child in IEP meetings is a personal choice that may vary over time. Here are two resources that may help you weigh whether and how your child joins the conversation:
By Scott Lutostanski: “Should Your Child Attend His IEP Meeting?”