Debra’s Interview

Me: As you know I am …….., and we communicated through the phone regarding my research on Individualized Education Program. Your friend; Kimberly referred me to you, and said that you would be well suited for the interview since you have personal experience with the program. Your son is currently in an Individualized Education Program, right?

Debra: Yes, my son is in an Individualized Education Program. He is called Robert, and he has been experiencing developmental delays since he was born. He has never been able to do the things that his peers do; even the most common of things. In the long-run he does them, but way past the “appropriate” time. Robert has problems with his social skills, communication skills and also experiences developmental delays in motor skills.

Me: Are you a member of the IEP Team?

Debra: Yes, I have been a member of the IEP team since the day it commenced. I love my son, and I want to be involved with a program that is going to make him better.

Me: What is your role as the member of the team?

Debra: I think I serve various roles within this team. This is because I tend to be active in all the things that are involved in the program. However, there are two roles that I consider as being major; offering consent and providing relevant information regarding Robert. Being the parent, I know a lot of things about my son that are not known to the other members of the team. As a result, I take the initiative of providing this information. This has been very helpful since it gives the other professionals involved an opportunity of identifying the actual steps to take in order to make the program helpful to Robert. When it comes to giving consent, I have had to do this on several occasions. Before Robert was subjected to the evaluation of ascertaining whether he is eligible for the IEP, I was contacted and provided the consent. After the first and the second years of the IEP, I was also requested to consent for the changing of the program so that it would suit the progress that my son was making.

Me: How frequently do you meet as a team?

Debra: There is a compulsory meeting once every year, where every member is expected to avail themselves. Reviewing the progress that Robert is making in light of the IEP is usually the main agenda of these meetings. The progress usually determines whether there a need for making changes to the program. In addition to this meeting, I usually meet Robert’s special and general education teachers once or twice every month. This helps me in getting updates of his progress. This way I will be aware of the support services to offer while at home.

Me: Are you comfortable offering contributions during the process?

Debra: Yes, I am very comfortable while making contributions to the team. The other members are very supportive, and this makes me even more comfortable since we are on the same page. It usually brings a smile to my face seeing the progress that my child is making.

Me: Do you feel the process is authentically focused on the student or the completion of the paperwork?

Debra: Mmmmmm….the process itself requires a completion of varied paperwork as per the regulations. However, I don’t think this has been the point of focus. The team members tend to focus on Robert since they are very keen on knowing various aspects of his life that do not seem outright. There are a lot of follow-ups in light of getting clarifications from time to time. This shows how concerned they are, and that they are focused on ensuring that my son gets better.

ME: Has the process resulted in measurable gains for Robert?

Debra: I am happy to say that my son has actualized measurable gains since the inception of the IEP. His communication skills have improved significantly. He now understands how to use gestures, follow directions and have conversations. His social skills have improved too since he can now play with his peers and share toys. Currently he is keeping friends; something I had not seen before. When it comes to motor skills, he can now hold things from one point to another without dropping them. This progress makes me feel very happy as a mother.

Me: Do you have any concerns about the process?

Debra: No, the process is working well based on the progress that I can see on my son.

Me: Any suggestions to help improve the process?

Debra: The only suggestion that I would bring to help improve the IEP is increasing the number of meetings for all the members. Meeting once every year might delay some adjustments that need to be made in case there is something that is not working.

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