Here at ELM we are dedicated to being a place of community and support while also providing resources that you all find valuable. Taryn and Jess went through their own individual IEP processes with Addie and Rhea this past spring and wanted to share this ME BOOK with all of you because of how helpful it was! This idea was provided to them from Judy Bellina who is an incredible advocate and teacher. We wanted to ensure we had a place to properly thank her for this! Read on to download the template as well as learn more about the ME BOOK and what it provides for your child's study team.
The IEP process for our family was a bit stressful to say the least! In the middle of Adeline's eligibility evaluations in the Hoboken district of New Jersey, my husband and I found the house of our dreams and decided to move towns. This wouldn't have been that crazy but we were nervous about restarting the evaluations all over again. Luckily the new district accepted Adeline's evaluations and decided to do an in-person meet and greet. The end result worked out but it was extremely stressful. The one thing that I feel truly aided in this district transfer was Adeline's ME BOOK. Each district's team commented on how robust and detailed it was. They appreciated learning about Adeline's early years and all that she had learned and overcome so far. It was also great to have all our feedback regarding Adeline's education and therapies listed in one place so the team could use it as a reference. I can't encourage people enough to do this as it is a wonderful way to introduce your family and your child to those that are dedicated to their educational placement.
I almost made myself sick over our first IEP process, if I'm being honest. It was just the buildup of the unknowns as well as how big the changes felt to us. I had prepared the Me Book ahead of our first meeting, which was actually a fun thing to do and took my mind off the stress. I handed it out to the team when we got there, and it felt like a great icebreaker. The team flipped through it right away and was commenting on various pictures and stories. It really helped to set the tone for the meeting and for the process ahead by having them get to know Rhea as a person and not just as a piece of paper or a stack of evaluations. I also felt like they got to see how seriously we took Rhea's educational future by being so prepared. I highly recommend a Me Book for anyone starting an IEP process or for any annual review!