When I first learned that I would be observing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting, I had several ideas on how it would actually go since I have never observed a meeting on a student. I had pictured in my mind that the meeting would be in a quiet room with a really long table and it would be two groups, the parents and the student and the other group would be the teachers, negotiating a contract. I also had pictured in my mind that the meeting would be very confrontational with one side deciding on something and the other side arguing that this decision was not sufficient enough.
Little did I know this IEP meeting I would be observing would turn out completely different than what I pictured in my mind. The IEP meeting I observed took place right after school in the classroom after all the students had left. This was the best time for the mother and stepfather to meet to have this meeting. I usually leave before school ends but on this particular day, I stayed until the end so that I can have the chance to observe. This meeting was actually pretty short but it did cover important facts.
The meeting was on student Bob (names have been changed), who was diagnosed with being autistic at age 2. In this meeting in the classroom, those who attended were myself, special education teacher, general education teacher, the mother and the stepfather and Bob was there as well. The mother had a notepad where I was guessing that she will be taking notes, the general education teacher and the special education teacher also had something to take notes on. They first all greeted each other and spoke about the plans for the holidays and had a nice friendly laugh together.
They finally started to speak about Bob’s strengths, the general education teacher mentioned that Bob has many good skills that she has noticed so far this school year. She said that these skills will benefit him to succeed. His ability to understand direction clearly that is presented verbally and visually are very strong. The general education teacher also told the parents that he can communicate his needs to any of the students or to the teacher herself.
The special education teacher agreed on that as well, and said that this was a very big improvement because last year he had trouble communicating his needs to others. That was one of his goals from last year that he needed to reach and he has reached that goal in communicating better with others. Bob’s mother said she was going to mention that as well that he is now communicating a lot better at home as well. So from what I had understood is that he has greatly improved.
The general education teacher mentioned also that Bob shows excellent ability in math, and shows a lot of motivation and excitement when they are doing math in class. He also shows motivation to get good grades. During this subject in the meeting I noticed that the stepfather was only on his phone and didn’t even say one word, he got up to answer a phone call and then returned. The mother didn’t seem bothered at all, and Bob was listening carefully during this math subject and kept mentioning how he loves to practice math at home.
He even mentioned at one point that he wants to be a teacher one day when he is big. Bob still needs more time to complete assignments, he works pretty slowly at almost every subject and feels pressured when the general education teacher tells him he has to finish up. Bob also still has trouble interacting with the rest of the classmates, when they are in recess, he is alone and doesn’t interact. He also still is having trouble in spelling but his reading has greatly improved since last school year.
The special education teacher and general education teacher made accommodation and as well as recommendations for when he is at home. Some of those accommodations was that he will be given more time to complete assignments, and that she would assign him with a partner in class so they can work together on an activity instead of individually. This will also give him the opportunity to interact, the general education teacher said she will also make sure this school year she does a lot of group activities and will keep an eye on him to make sure he is interacting and participating a lot more.
Some of the goals that they came to agreement was that the student will be able to work at a faster pace, and that he will be able to spell more words, he will be given a paper with a list of words from that week in class, so that he can practice them at home with his parents and even his siblings. The special education teacher said that he needs to be taught better study skills that include daily review of work for comprehension, memorization and conceptualization.