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How To Make IEPs More Fun

I've been to a LOT of IEP meetings in my time, and nearly every one of them was excruciating. So when I found this piece on Michael McCreary's website, I nearly spit milk out of my nose. And that's not easy when you're drinking soda. Sit back and enjoy...

Michael notes: I found this post a few years ago while going through the IEP process and it never ceases to make me choke with laughter every time I read it. The link no longer seems to work, which is a tragedy because this is too funny not to share, but through amazing acts of high tech wizardry (thank you Alex) we managed to retrieve the post and I have copied it here.  I will keep the link and the post to credit the amazingly funny author. Enjoy! November 19, 2012 by lexi magnusson 135 Comments Even with the best teachers and staff, Individualized Education Plan Meetings are kind of terrible. I’ve spoken about how fun it is to talk about all the crap your kid can’t do, and even at its best, goal planning is boring. At its worst, you’re in for a fight that may or may not eventually require tears, attorneys and mediation. We’ve been lucky in the past couple of years to have had great IEP teams, and willing school districts. Still though, as I spend hours and hours preparing for those meetings, and then IN those meetings, I still can’t escape the thought that there could be a way, or many ways, to make them MUCH more entertaining. So I took this question to my autism-blogger friends. What can we do to make these meetings AWESOME?  Here’s our list:

  • Every time someone says “with autism” correct them to “autistic” then do the reverse the next time they say “autistic.”

  • Ask them if they’ve heard of the (totally made up name) theory of development and see if they lie.

  • When they bring up goals that your child has accomplished, pat yourself on the back and say, “good for me”.

  • Give yourself affirmations at random times. “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough…”

  • Insist on doing “Duck Duck Goose” around the table to decide who has to read their section first. Demand outcomes of the game written into the minutes.

  • Bring all of your other kids in. And other people’s kids.   

  • Hand out your own goals at the beginning of the meeting. “The Speech and Language Pathologist will bark when someone says ‘IEP’ 2 out of 3 times with minimal prompting” Measure goals at the end of the meeting. 

  • Start every sentence with, “I read on the internet…”

  • …or “my psychiatrist says…” 

  • Insist on Person-first language then don’t use it yourself. At all.  

  • Come in all decked out in sensory attire : weighted vest, lap pad, chewelry, and fidgets.

  • Bring a visual timer

  • Ask for the meeting to do be done with a sign language interpreter. When they ask you why, call them a racist. 

  • Say “listening ears” whenever they’re not listening to what you’re saying.

  • See how long you can hold this face:

  • Every time someone speaks to you, respond with “Are you talkin’ to me?” With full DiNiro accent.

  • Insist on keeping the chair next to you empty for your friend, Penelope Paddywack, who no one else can see.

  • Dress like Maria, from Sound of Music. Carry an acoustic guitar.

  • Answer everything in the form of a question. Like Jeopardy

  • Bring Scooby Snacks and throw one to the person whenever you like what they said.

  • Rap.

  • Carry a tiny chihuahua and say “That’s hot” whenever you agree.

  • At random intervals say “You bitches be crazy”

  • Show up with that black paint under your eyes that athletes use. So they know you’re serious.

  • Put tape on your knuckles part way through.

  • Talk in third person

  • Script an entire episode of Spongebob.

  • Use puppets

  • Nickname everyone on the team. Use names that describe their worst physical attribute.      

  • Answer every question with “on the advice of counsel, I refuse to answer on the grounds that I might incriminate myself”

  • Elbow your husband and wink knowingly (but act as if you thought you were being subtle about it and don’t think they’ll notice) at every other, then every third thing someone else says, shifting the pattern every so often, completely randomly. They will go nuts trying to figure out the connection between the statements you’re taking issue with.

  • At the end, laugh your ass off and then say “Okay you guys, let’s do the real one”

  • At impromptu moments, scream “The sky is falling!” Then cluck 3 times.

  • Take your own set of “minutes” and force everyone to sign them. “SLP carried on about her period for forty five minutes, fibroids were discussed. OT says her fingers hurt”

  • Bring your own attendance sheet with celebrity names on them. “Sorry, we either wait for Brad Pitt to arrive or I need you to sign a waiver saying it’s okay that we had this meeting in his absence.”    

  • Answer everything they say with “That’s what she said”

  • Receive a phone call. Proceed to walk the person on the other line through something important, like landing a plane or an appendectomy.  

  • Come dressed as William Wallace, complete with blue face paint

  • Speak only in Chinese phrases you learned from Ni-hao, Kai-Lan.

  • Go dressed up in full paintball gear and start shooting each person in the leg who says something you disagree with   

  • Bring your “translator” and have them translate everything said… into Pig Latin. 

  • Just keep doing this, “So what I’m hearing you say is…..” and say what you want to hear, not at all what they said. 

  • Say “I’d like to give all my answers in the form of interpretive dance” 

 aaaand you’re welcome,

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