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Ask a Self-Advocate: What I liked and disliked about my first IEP team meeting experience

This post is part of MAC’s “Ask a Self-Advocate” blog series. This series was written by “JOSO*,” MAC’s 2017-2018 Young Adult Leaders Fellow, who is an autistic young man. The Young Adult Leaders Fellowship provides an opportunity for young adults aged 18-26 with intellectual disabilities and/or autism to learn the professional skills needed to advocate on behalf of other youth with disabilities. “Ask a Self-Advocate” was JOSO’s final project for the Fellowship and will include 13 posts published through the end of the year.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

My suggestions are based on my own experience. I realize that what worked for me may not work for everyone else.

I liked that I was invited to my IEP team meeting and was able to voice my opinion. However, I felt that I participated in the meeting too late in my high school career. As a result, I was not accustomed to the structure of the meeting or all the attention placed on me. I would have wanted to have my IEP meetings at a time when I would not miss class, perhaps during study hall. I would have at least wanted to attend a portion of the meetings if it took place in the middle of the school day.

I think it would have been better if my school had invited me to my IEP meetings before senior year because I would not have been surprised by the meeting and overwhelmed by all of the transition services I received. Additionally, I would have had more input in the transition services I received.

For instance, I was offered transition services during my last year of high school. If I was invited to the team meetings sooner, I could have had more opportunities to participate in transition programs that I approved of. I was only motivated to take part in the transition programs I did because I was told that this was the only time I would be eligible for them.

In my next blog, I will talk about how I think my IEP team meeting could have been better.

Click here to read the other posts in this series.