Saturday, April 05, 2008

Targeted Question: Disability Beliefs

It’s the IEP season and full servings of stress are being dished up with lots of conversations about kids, schools, teams and plans. In the midst of all this one of my friends, whose son is in 9th grade, asked me if my team had asked me “THE QUESTION” at my daughter’s meeting this week.

“THE QUESTION?” I asked.

Apparently every year for the past few years her son’s case manager has asked the same question at the beginning of every IEP meeting:

“Do you want your son to have competitive employment, supported employment or sheltered employment?”

She went on and told me lots of other stuff about her meeting, but this question really stuck with me.

I really hate this question.

Who wants to be part of a team where the coach starts the game by asking, “Should we aim for the bullseye, the target or the wall?”

Wouldn’t work for Wednesday night darts.

Doesn’t work in Wednesday morning IEP meetings either!

I hate the implication—at the beginning of team deliberations—that there are only 3 possible paths for her son. More than that, I hate that the 3 paths offered require her son to fit a system rather than requiring a system to fit her son.

Surely we can do better than this????

(Wheelie Catholic has written an interesting post about the value of consumer driven services. Check it out!)

Photo from here.


Ruth said...

Terri, thanks for the link.

Loved your post. According to my sister's reports on IEP meetings, Wednesday morning IEP meetings (which always have a prep, follow through with more evals perhaps, tweaks,etc.) are falsely called Wednesday morning IEP meetings. They actually go on for weeks, sometimes's just that people have left the room.

take care :)

Anonymous said...

I think this raises a significant point about how the systems are "set-up" for adulthood. Throughout childhood children have an IEP - individualized education plan. Some IEP's appear to be more individualized than others. But once adulthood has been reached, it seems that the individual is now expected to fit the mold of the systems, instead of the other way around. Why can't adult services be more individualized? And why can't all individuals find MEANINGFUL employment? I believe that THE QUESTION should be reworded to state, "What would be a meaningful after high school experience for this individual? And what supports would best help this person be successful?" I agree that we can do better than this.

Thanks for the post. -Jennifer