Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 1 Fall 2014 - Page 18

your child’s strengths and talents at the forefront. Some parents strategically plant a photo of their kid on the table during the IEP meeting. If that feels a little too staged, then by all means keep calling your child by name and drop in the occasional personal anecdote so that everyone remembers who they are there to discuss: a highly valued, one-of-a-kind person. Bring in the Reinforcements If you are likely to feel overwhelmed, or even bullied, at any point during the IEP meeting, bring along an ally in the guise of a therapist, neighbor, friend, relative or spouse— someone who knows and has a vested interest in your child. Just be sure to clear it with whoever is officiating the consult beforehand. Some people recommend recording meetings. By all means bring along a pen and paper, but I personally feel that using an audio recorder may put others on the defensive and create an antagonistic atmosphere. Come armed with highlighted copies of the previous year’s IEP, any reports or assessments to which you may wish to refer and your legal rights (just in case). Take scrupulous notes of who said what during the meeting, and “BE REALISTIC ABOUT THE PROGRESS THAT IS ACHIEVABLE WITHIN A GIVEN YEAR.” Photo: George Hodan 18 Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses