Attending an IEP meeting is inherently a stressful, often fearful, time for parents. An initial IEP occurs after a child has been assessed for the very first time, usually around age 3. A speech therapist and possibly a psychologist are scheduled to visit your home and interview you about how your child communicates and behaves. You are scheduled to come in for formal testing and your child may or may not easily acclimate to the new environment with those new people. He may or may not speak or act as you normally observe at home or in familiar environments.
Go into this process with an open mind knowing that it is just that...a process. It requires patience, respect and understanding on both sides. The assessors are evaluating your child objectively, comparing his skills to other children his age. They have your child’s best interests at heart, even though some of what they say may be hurtful. They may tell you they believe your child is on the Autism Spectrum. This specifically leads fear and hurt. Know that countless other families have gone through this exact process and you have people to lean on. If your child is in therapy currently, lean on your therapist. Go to others for support when you can. Learning from others about their experiences can help immensely. A feeling of helplessness is common but know it is temporary and once a plan is in place that will lead to hope!
We are always here to help! Please feel free to contact us anytime. You don't have to do this alone. Working together to provide you and your child with every tool available is our primary purpose.
Shannon Kong, MS, CCC
CEO, Clinical Director Seven Bridges Therapy