I have a friend, Tayna, who has a six year old autistic child who is developmentally delayed and struggles with socialization and appropriate school-like behaviors. We know that her daughter is incredibly smart but her challenges often mask her abilities. As a friend, it is easy to see Tayna beat herself up on a regular basis because she knows what society expects of children and she wants her daughter to have a bright future and to be a contributor in one way or another.
It is difficult sometimes to talk with Tayna because she questions everything that she does. After all, special needs children never come with a manual, not even the pediatrician can foresee the future and are only able to sometimes guide a good direction. The most important thing that I do as Tayna’s friend is support her decisions and remind her how wonderful she is. Together we are able to celebrate the baby steps and laugh about the always changing nuances her child presents. Tayna spends an amazing amount of time collecting data and analyzing data. She is a true member of her IEP team and together communication is open and honest. There are always struggles and challenges but the only way to move through the challenges is with a team.
It takes hard work to develop a positive IEP team and Tayna is a newcomer. However, she is strong and does know what is best for her child. She commands attention and isn’t afraid to follow her decisions even when they cause heartache and tears. The best piece of advice that I can give Tayna as a friend is to never give up demanding the best for her child, no matter what…
A great resource for preparing and navigating IEP meetings is Individual Education Plan for Success can be purchased through talkcounts.com