Building Your IEP Community with Janice Fialka (Ep 117)

community iep meeting peers self advocacy student interest Feb 10, 2022

Let's talk Student Participation in the IEP process!

Janice Fialka is BACK for more self-advocacy strategies, creating interdependence, and understanding the world of teenagers. Building a community, both inside and outside of school, is essential to setting your student up for sucess!

Having her son present at his own IEP meetings challenged everyone at the table to choose more appropriate language for a productive meeting. She even went as far as to include Micah's peers in the planning process.

Inclusion requires intentionally reaching out to others and inviting them into our lives. Even if your child is in a self-contained classroom, there are still inclusive opportunities available for their development.

We are constantly talking about creating real life IEP goals and Janice's example about "fake attention" is the perfect example! We all do these things to make life easier naturally, and we don't always have the instincts of our child's peers to understand their world.

Independent living doesn't mean that our students need to be alone, they have to gain the confidence to reach out to others and create a community of their own. Instead, Janice suggests teaching interdependence and considering how students with disabilities can seek out a circle of friends, familiy, and support systems necessary for thriving. You may not be in this phase of life right now, but parents, teachers, we have to start thinking baout how to launch our students into the real world. What do we need to change about our approach to give them a head start at life?

Here's a glance at this episode...
[3:42] "Micah would listen to each person share some moment that really spoke to his gifts or ability or energy"
[10:30] "Interdependence... you're going to be thinking about what you want to accomplish, but you won't be thinking about it in isolation of others."
[18:21] "You child is watching you... and that might be the greater lesson."

Click here to listen!

*Don't forget to leave a review of the episode on your favorite streaming service.  They mean more than you know! 


Check out Janice's first appearance on the Special Education Inner Circle Podcast:


Connect with Janice Fialka, LMSW, ACSW: 
What Matters: Reflections on Disability, Community and Love 
Listen to Janice's interview on NPR-Michigan Radio (91.7): 


Today's a great day to Become a Master IEP Coach®:




Write Better IEP Goals. Reduce IEP Conflict.

Learn More About Becoming a Master IEP Coach®