Sit back, relax and enjoy!
I am once again going to roll with what Nicole has talked about and add my thoughts. We have found a pattern as we continue our work with families. May is the time of IEP’s and thinking about the year to come. This is the time of year when phone calls and e-mails are endless looking for support on what to do with the next year. Here are some thoughts to help you through this stressful time of year:
- Plan ahead. You know that the IEP will be coming, take some time to visit different classrooms, teachers, schools etc. and get a feel for what kind of setting you are looking for.
- What are your priorities with your child over the next year. Will this setting help you to reach these goals?
- Write pros and cons for each educational setting you are considering. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. School is just what you do in our culture – but why does that have to be if formalized schooling doesn’t fit with what you are looking for? Options can range from being home all day to being in school all day, but why not do 1/2 day at school and 1/2 day at home? What about private schooling or Charter schools? Just because you have a child with a special need doesn’t mean you have to fit into the box that their label puts them in. Options are out there, feel free to shop!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for progress reports from your school. Is your child making progress? If not, don’t wait until the next IEP to think about what needs to happen to ensure success. Work with the teachers to make sure that gains will be made.
- It can be stressful to make a decision, but once the decision is made, you aren’t married to it. There is the option of moving your child to another setting if it’s not working out.
- Enjoy the summer with your children. Don’t feel you have to fill it full in hopes that your child will make more gains. Often times slowing down will help your child’s success speed up. Perhaps a relaxing summer with less expectations can help your child start the next school year more regulated and ready to learn. By the way, relaxing in my mind does not mean t.v., video games etc. try going swimming, building sand castles, growing a garden, planting flowers, riding bikes – let your imaginations go!
On that note, I just want to encourage you to enjoy the ride of raising your children. They grow up so fast and it is so easy to get caught up in the stress of school and in the mean time miss so much valuable time with your children. I know as a working mom there are days that I have a lot on my mind and a full day can go by without truly engaging my girls because my mind isn’t with them, instead it’s on getting x done or scheduling y. In the mean time I’ve missed a day of their quickly changing lives. Don’t be afraid to sit back, relax and enjoy your children and the process of watching them grow.
Until next time! Michelle