• Understanding Autism from the Inside

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IEP Day—This is what I’ve prepared—Parental Concerns

boxing at iep meeting

So today is the day, and I’ve been obsessing and thanks to all of your awesome input and suggestions, preparing all week.  Yesterday I received a draft copy of the IEP to review (I don’t think they expected me to ask for a copy in advance.)

Since the draft did not address any of my concerns, and only listed “extended time to complete assignments” in the accommodations area (the draft did not contain the Autism Team’s input), I put together my own document (7 pages). I will have a copy available for everyone attending the meeting today.

I’m going to share in three parts because that is the way I divided the document: Parental Concerns, Challenges the Impact (Little Man’s) Ability to Access the Curriculum, and Requested Accommodations.

Listed on IEP:

Primary Disability: Autism

Other disabling conditions: Specific Learning Disability; Speech or Language Impairment

Parental Concerns

  • Anger, frustration, tears, and meltdowns upon returning home from school. The situation has deteriorated to the point where it takes Matthew many hours to decompress from the school day before he can even attempt to look at homework assignments. As a result, homework gets started late in the evening and triggers the anxiety all over again.
  • Anxiety in the mornings prior to leaving for school—manifested by feeling ill, worrying about his day, and excessive trips to the bathroom.
  • Difficulty communicating with teachers which includes misunderstanding directions, or instructions, and difficulty recalling instructions at home in order to accurately complete assignments, and fears asking teachers for clarification or help
  • Difficulties pertaining to executive dysfunction, weak central coherence, and theory of mind.
  • Sensory processing (auditory) issues; Matthew has difficult hearing or processing sounds when focused on a task, difficulty tuning into one person’s voice in a crowd, or noisy environment (classroom—difficulty honing in on the teacher’s voice).
  • Matthew needs physical activity and proprioceptive input daily, in addition to frequent breaks from activity. He craves proprioceptive input such as jumping, spinning, swinging, running, and sliding.
  • All forms of punishment for offenses that are related to his disability must cease immediately. This includes taking recess as punishment for missing, incomplete, or inaccurately done homework assignments, lost paperwork, missing homework folders, forgotten agendas, or parental signatures. He should also not lose ice-cream privileges for the week because of these “offenses,” which are clearly a part of executive functioning issues. Additionally, if any behavioral issues arise, parents want to be notified PRIOR to dispensing punishment of any kind. Since Matthew is not a behavioral problem, this should not be an issue.

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.