Today I am going to our first of three IEP meetings for Joshua. For those of you who don’t know, IEP means Individualized Education Plan, it’s for children who have special educational needs. For these first three years of Joshua’s life he has been receiving therapy services through Early Intervention, but now that he is turning 3 in a month he will now be enrolled in our local school system and receive his services through them. So, we have to go through this process of writing an IEP detailing what his needs are and how the school system is going to meet those needs. We do this through three meetings, the first one, today, is an information meeting where we meet with the school system and the Early Intervention team and they discuss Joshua’s needs and how we have been addressing those needs. Then in a couple of weeks he will have an evaluation where a lot of therapists and a psychologist assess his needs and abilities. Then the week before he turns three, we have the actual IEP meeting where we write the IEP. We don’t know exactly what is going to happen since we haven’t done this before, but we have an idea. Glenn has been to lots of these IEP meeting for his students so he knows what goes on, and our therapists have given us some idea as well as to what they project he will receive as far as services are concerned. We are thinking Joshua will be eligible, based on his needs, to attend a special education preschool near our house for 2-3 days a week. He will receive his therapies there. Right now he gets Occupational therapy and Speech therapy every other week. They will decide what therapies he needs and how often he gets them. There is a chance he might not qualify for the special ed preschool in which case we can either put him into a private preschool and his therapists can come there or we can drive him to a local public school and he can have therapy there.
There are so many choices and options and we won’t know what will happen until the IEP is written. The odd thing is that if he does qualify for Special ed preschool he will start as soon as he turns three, instead of waiting until the fall to start. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous about it all, but I know God’s in control and He has a plan for Joshua. There is also a bit of reality and sadness that comes with this process. When we started Early Intervention I thought we would just have therapy for a few months and he would catch up and that would be it. However, as we have gotten into therapy, the past three years, we have seen much progress but we have also seen that Joshua will likely need some help for at least the forseeable future, especially in speech. As a parent, that isn’t what you want to hear. You want to hear your son will be “normal”, but when you face the reality that isn’t how it’s going to be you have to grieve that “normal”. After some tears, I have come to terms with it all for now. I am sure it will hit me again later on as we enter school and so forth. I am glad I get to go through this IEP writing process with Joshua right now though since I will be doing this again with our daughter when she comes home so at least I will know what I am doing.
I know God has made Joshua as he is and He does not make mistakes. Joshua has made so much progress in the past few years and will continue to and this IEP process is just insuring his further progress. It is much better to face this and do something about it than to stick your head in the sand and pretend nothing is wrong.