In the educational world, there are things called IEP's. An IEP is an Individual Educational Plan. Students who have some obstacle to learning can qualify for an IEP. The qualification process typically begins when a teacher, counselor, parent, or even student begins to question a student's ability to learn. Data about the student's background, physical, mental, social, and emotional development and academic growth are gathered. Generally, this information is brought to a formal meeting which includes the student's teachers, parents, any educational support personnel that might be involved, and, depending on the age of the student, the student as well. At this initial meeting, a plan is made for the student's continued growth and a decision is made regarding assessment for special ed services.
Assessment for special ed always includes an academic evaluation and might also include a psycho-social evaluation, a speech and articulation evaluation, a auditory and visual evaluation, and other assessments as needed. Once the assessments are completed, the planning group reconvenes and makes a decision regarding special ed services and / or other kinds of support for the student. Students can receive special ed services for a variety of concerns including auditory, linguistic, or spacial processing issues, fine or gross motor issues, psycho-social issues, and lots of other concerns.
Recently, I began thinking about how all people deserve IEP's. No one learns exactly like another person and we could all use an IEP to help us get through life. For some people, that IEP might include academic services but others might have other kinds of special needs. If they had a meeting like the aforementioned IEP meeting for me, there would not have been academic concerns - not as a child and not as an adult. As a kid, I daydreamed a lot. I STILL daydream a lot (when I am not running like crazy to get things done). Although I was always accepted by other kids at school, I preferred to play alone or with one or two other kids at school. I still prefer solitude to much socializing. I preferred quiet to noisy and I STILL prefer quiet to noisy. I always wanted to be outside as a kid and I am still energized by being outside, preferably in the sunshine. As a kid, I struggled with not being "good enough" and, yes, I still struggle with that one too. I don't know that any of these things get in the way of my learning but they can get in the way of my comfort.
So what would my Individual Educational Plan look like? Somewhere in the plan would be written an accommodation for my need for silence. I would be allowed to wear ear plugs or go to a quiet place whenever the world got too loud. There would also be an accommodation for my need for isolation. Every day, I would have a guaranteed block of solitude. In fact, I would have two or three of those blocks of time. Additionally, as long as I was employed full time, I would also have at least a full day of alone time on the weekend. My IEP would need to include an accommodation allowing me time to be outside. If the sun is shining, I would be allowed to be outside, no matter what. Perhaps a semi annual trip to the tropics should be included in my IEP. I would also have access to physical and massage therapists on a regular basis so that those parts of my body that are starting to malfunction can be attended to. And sleep: there would need to be an accommodation for naps. They are essential to my recharging. I always get up early to have some solitude but I pay the price in a lack of sleep. Naps are the perfect solution.
I need to keep thinking about this IEP. Perhaps I can even pay attention to my own recommendations.
What would your IEP look like?
**** The beautiful girl in the photo is the wonderful and spectacularly talented Ms. Isabel Grace Seekatz. xoxoxxoxooxxo to her :) Love, Auntie JT