10 Ways to Emotionally Prep for an IEP Meeting
Special Needs Parents & Teachers, It's time to stop drowning in IEP stress. Take these steps and FEEL better in your next IEP meeting!
We all know there are hundreds of things that seem to need to be done before the meeting. Even just thinking about it can cause sleepless nights, high anxiety at home and overwhelm that just keeps building until meeting day.
Here's how I lower stress when prepping for IEP meeting after IEP meeting after IEP meeting... some of these might seem like they are "feely", but they work!
- Get all your IEP papers in one place. Physical papers in one place. All emails organized into folders inside of your email account. You don't have to go through all of it right now, just get it together.
- Write your parent input statement. (Teachers, help your parents build this statement.) It builds desired outcomes BEFORE the meeting. Not sure what I'm talking about? Parents, I teach you exactly how to do this, here. Teachers, you can get the tools, here.
- Go for a walk. Just 10 minutes will help!
- Change your self talk to remind yourself that this is ONE meeting and your child's/student's entire future does NOT depend on one meeting.
- Get still. Physically still and stop your mind from trying to multi-task. Set a timer for 3 minutes and do NOTHING.
- Drink water. I know you're probably running on caffeine. Fuel your brain with H2O.
- Simplify what you want out of the IEP meeting. Pick 3 things you want to happen at the meeting and focus on getting those done. It'll create a domino effect for the rest of what needs to happen.
- Stop beating yourself up for all the things you haven't done right this school year and make a list of all the things you did right!
- Talk to a friend who "gets it". Tell your person that you aren't looking for them to have the answers, you just need to spill out all the stress.
- Remind yourself that everyone at the IEP table is human. Everyone has made mistakes. There have been good days and bad days, but this is a chance for a fresh start!
I've been prepping for IEP meetings for over 20 years. There's no way I would've been able to keep creating change in special education, if I let the stress take over. If I sat at my desk or kitchen table stuck and overwhelmed, I would've given up years ago.
Parents and Teachers... you need to do whatever it takes to a powerful pause during your IEP prep. You are too important to be burnt out. Take care of you, so you can take care of others.
And never forget... You are EXTRAORDINARY!
P.S. You don't have to do this alone! Choose one of these options and I'll be with you every step of the way!
The Online IEP Help Center is for parents... start here.
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