A Parent’s Journey with Individualized Education Plans

In this week’s episode of The UpBeat Podcast, our host Greg is joined by Felicia, an amazing single mother whose 17-year-old daughter Faith was born with cerebral palsy. 

Felicia shares her inspiring story of how her frightening experience at Faith’s birth motivated her to dive in and do all she could for Faith and for parents in similar situations. Felicia has gained certifications as a nursing assistant, home health aid, and mental health worker, and has also served on the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council. She’s now even launching her own non-profit, Leap of Faith, focusing on providing community support to the parents of children with special needs. 

Listen to Felicia’s interview here.

Some of Felicia’s wonderful advice focuses on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), which are federally-mandated meetings that take place at least once per school year for each child with special needs. At these gatherings, the child’s parents, caregivers, school staff, and anyone else involved with the child’s care come together to devise a plan to make sure the child receives the best educational experience possible.

As Felicia explains, these meetings can be stressful and daunting. But fortunately for worried parents, Felicia has some great tips on how to get the most from an IEP meeting and there are also some fantastic online resources to help:

WrightsLaw is an extensive site focusing on special education law and education law. They have an in-depth guide to IEPs, providing wide-ranging advice and strategies from Jennifer Bollero, a special education lawyer. 

The Huffington Post has a long list of 18 tips on how to prepare for an IEP meeting, covering various aspects of the process. 

GreatSchools is a “national non-profit empowering parents to unlock educational opportunities for their children.” Their tips for a successful IEP meeting includes a helpful section on what you, your child, and support team can do after the IEP meeting to make sure everyone’s getting the most from it. 

ADDitude, a magazine and web resource for families dealing with ADHD, has lots of helpful information on IEPs to share. Their IEP meeting tips are specifically for children with ADHD, but will help families dealing with IEPs for any reason.

The UpBeat podcast is powered by CoachArt, a nonprofit organization that provides FREE art and athletic activities to families impacted by any childhood chronic illness – such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, cancer, cerebral palsy and more.

If you have a child that may qualify for CoachArt programs, visit: CoachArt.org.

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