The following letter is a pre-planned posthumous letter to my son, Troy’s IEP team. The context of the letter can be explained by reading The Immortal Mom: Why I Can Never Die.
Dear IEP Team,
Thank you for your tireless efforts to ensure Troy receives the best educational career. One that prepares him for college or a career and independent living. I wish that I could be there to advocate for my son. To watch as he meets his ambitious IEP goals, fret over stalled progress, marvel at him making new friends and learning grade-level content, and nervously laugh as he gets into a bit of mischief.
Unfortunately, God had other plans. So, I am writing to you in hopes that my educational goals for Troy are carried out in his Individualized Education Plan. When I wrote this I had no idea when or how I might pass, but I knew then that I am my son’s best advocate. If I was there my plans would be much more detailed, but as it stands I hope these broad goals are used as guidance to create an ambitious, supportive, and fluid plan for Troy.
- Troy should be present at every IEP meeting, and should start advocating for himself in Middle School.
- Always Presume Troy is Competent! It’s the least dangerous assumption.
- A COPAA trained advocate should be present at every IEP meeting, and should have full access to Troy’s records.
- Troy’s teachers should receive the support they need through set planning time and professional inclusion training courses.
- Troy should have a one-on-one aide or his classes should be co-taught. The one-one-one aid or co-teacher should get the same training as his general education teacher.
- Troy should learn to read and understand what he reads using proven methods like Orton-Gillingham.
- Troy should learn functional math using proven methods.
- Troy should get Speech and OT pushed into his general education classroom throughout his elementary school years; if not, beyond.
- Evaluations and assessments should never be used for placement. General education is the least restrictive environment.
- Troy should access grade-level content at his own level using appropriate modifications.
- Troy should get the behavior supports he needs if behavior problems are preventing him from learning.
- Troy should stay in a general education setting at his neighborhood school 70 to 80% of each day.
- Troy should stay with his typical twin throughout his educational career.
- Troy should not do any cleaning or functional life skills type tasks, unless his typical peers are also doing the tasks.
- Troy should work towards a general diploma.
- When in doubt, ask yourselves the following question: “How is this specific IEP goal helping Troy be ready for college, career, and independence?”
Thank you for taking my posthumous wishes into consideration. Troy’s future depends on you carrying it out with fidelity. I appreciate all of you!