Now more than ever, kids with disabilities grow up with their peers. They want the same life. Many go to work, some go to college, and some get married. Others raise families of their own. Your child can have a good life, and you can help them by planning.
It’s important to help plan for your child’s needs. Needs are not just financial. Needs include giving kids academic, health, and social practice. Needs also include providing your child with skills to speak up for themselves. Life is a journey. Each stage of life impacts the other. Different life experiences bring a person closer to or further away from “Living Their Best Life.” In order for someone to have a good life, they have to know where they are going.
A vision is a goal. What is your goal for your child’s future? Experiences are the steps they take to get to the goal. What steps are your kids taking to reach their goals? Are you moving towards the vision you and your child want? Often, families focus on day-to-day life instead of the future. Yet, every Admission, Review and Dismissal and Individualized Education Program meeting is helping your child reach the vision that you have. If you don’t have a vision, sometimes it is easier to write down what you don’t want life to look like for your child. Charting the Life Course™ developed a tool called The Life Trajectory Planning Tool to help you. A trajectory is just a path to take.
Annie struggled with creating a vision of the future for her child, who is non-verbal. She felt helpless at ARD and IEP meetings. She didn’t know where the IEP was taking her daughter.
Annie and her husband sat down with the family over dinner. Using the trajectory, they talked about what they didn’t want for themselves. Then they all spoke up about what they didn’t want to see happen to their daughter and sister. That naturally led to a discussion about what they all thought would be a good life for her.
When the discussion was finished, Annie wrote down everyone’s thoughts on the trajectory form. At the next ARD and IEP meeting, Annie shared the family’s vision with the staff. It opened the staff’s eyes to what the family was thinking about. The ARD and IEP committee could then talk about what steps Annie’s daughter could take over the next year to move toward the goal. The whole team had a plan now.
Take the time to have a family discussion and create a vision. Share it at your next ARD and IEP meeting. It may make all the difference in your child’s life!
When our kids start school, they might need to be assessed for special education services. Sometimes this isn't needed until they've been in school a few years. The school district must identify and evaluate all children with disabilities. Once identified, they must be provided a Free Appropriate Public Education or FAPE.
Categories: Education & Schools