I’d rather change my name to MC HB aka Tenacious Cakes and tour the country spitting mad rhymes about the dangers of Easy Bake Ovens than go through another IEP meeting. In other words, I do not want to continue preparing for my son’s meeting scheduled for tomorrow. (If you want to make the most of the conference-from-hell, you have to prepare.)

There’s a lot of legal jargon you must get through to understand your child’s rights. Then there are the acronyms. So. Many. Acronyms. IDEA, ADA, FAPE, SP, OT, SLP, SPED, ABA. OMG! Honestly, you need a degree (or at least a lot of time) to get to know these bad boys. It’s assumed that all parents of special needs kids have tons of free time. Yeah right. It’s maddening.

Just when you think you can’t possibly take anymore, it’s time for the meeting! Everyone there is stressed. The SPED officials have deadlines, they’re under incredible amounts of pressure, and it’s part of their job to tell you what your kid cannot do.

SO. MUCH. FUN.

I have been a total stress case over this IEP meeting for over a month now. Today I needed a break. So, I put together this list of all of the things I’d rather do than read case law, study acronyms, and, finally, attend the IEP meeting.

1 | Read the explicit lyrics to “Get Low” by Lil Jon to a group of senior citizens

2 |  Justify my credit card charges to my husband…to his face

3 | Run down the beach next to Giselle Bundchen in matching bikinis on live television

4 | Get my lady business waxed into the shape of a question mark

5 | Roller skate through Walmart asking strangers if they are “The Gatekeeper”

6 | Get stuck in an elevator with Jay Z and Solange Knowles

7 | Bathe a feral cat

8 | Hang out in the airport smokers’ lounge while suffering from a stomach virus

9 | Eat sushi from the sketchy ethnic restaurant in the Atlanta airport

10 | Sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl making sure to raise my finger to point when I “hit the high notes” (note: I can’t sing)

11 | Argue with an overly enthusiastic mother who feels powerful because somebody gave her a clipboard

12 | Cover my body with spray adhesive, roll in glitter, and offer myself up to the Mississippi mosquitos in July

13 | Post a photo of myself with my tongue out on Facebook

14 | Drink a tall glass of curdled milk after ingesting whatever was in that Tupperware container in the back of my refrigerator

15 | Touch everything in the pediatrician’s office – toys, doorknobs, magazines – without washing my hands or using Germ-Ex after

16 | Wear a leisure suit to all of my daughter’s ballgames without offering anyone an explanation

17 | Clean the port-o-potties after a Phish concert without gloves

18 | Balance my checkbook

19 | Star in a urinary incontinence commercial

20 | Trade in wifi for dial-up

21 | Go live on Facebook from my bathroom during a colon cleanse

22 | Parallel park

23 | Wear crocs

24 | Watch a marathon of Sarah McLachlan’s SPCA dog commercials with my sensitive nine-year-old daughter

25 | Go back to high school

Do not get me wrong, I would walk through fire for my son. That would be easier, actually, because at least then I would know the outcome.

See, there’s something about going into the IEP Meeting. You may be scared or intimidated, but you know exactly what your child needs.

You go to the meeting thinking you will be considered a part of the IEP Team, but that’s not always how it goes.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Yeah, I know you don’t want to hear this, but you’ve got more work to do.

Let me help.

Start by reading posts like this and this.

Then take a glance at the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) right here.

Many states have a Community Parent Resource Center (CPRC) that offers support and training to parents of children with disabilities. You can find yours here.

I also found a lot of useful information here. and here.

I know that millions of special needs parents struggle with IEP’s this time of year…April. Which is also Autism Awareness Month.

I want you to be aware that IEP meetings are not supposed to be painful.

I want you to be aware of your child’s rights.

I want you to speak up on behalf of those that do not speak.

Like my son, Nathan.

Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others.-unknown

This article was previously published on wordtoyourmotherblog.com