IEP meeting day

My baby girl…she’s almost 6 now.

We had her IEP meeting today. She no longer qualifies for any special education services. I suspected that would be the result, and came in ready to fight for her.

There was really nothing to fight for. They are right. She’s doing AMAZING. Next year she’ll be in full day Montessori kindergarten, and I have no doubt she’ll do wonderfully, mainstreamed with no IEP. Her teachers have gotten to know her, and they love her. They will provide individualized support, regardless if it’s mandated by a document or not.

This girl, at two years old, barely responded to her name. She only spoke in a few scripted phrases. She was way behind her peers in speech and social skills.

Now, at nearly 6, she scored a perfect 100% on her PALS academic testing, something her teachers have never seen before. In speech and language evaluations, she tested at the level of 6.5-7 years old. The SLP tried a higher level social communication assessment, just out of curiosity, and she scored at the 4th grade level!

She is a leader in the classroom, an example for the rest of the children. She handles social conflicts with grace and maturity well beyond her years. Academically, she’s ridiculously bright. She has this wonderful, unexpected, contagious enthusiasm for life.

I thought I’d leave the meeting today filled with anger if they tried to take away her services. But I don’t feel that way at all. All I am filled with is overwhelming gratitude and pride.

She would not be where she is today if I hadn’t made a phone call to Early Intervention when she was two, my voice shaking with fear as I described how my daughter was “different,” which started us down the road to an autism diagnosis at three, two years of special needs preschool, and hours of therapy. She has had so many wonderful people helping and supporting her along the way.

Look how far she has come.

I am so proud. I can’t hold back my tears.

I am so proud of my smart, wonderfully different, absolutely perfect baby girl.


Image is Juliette’s spring school photo.  She is seated, with her arms crossed in front of her, with a sweet smile and big white bow in her hair.

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