Our son, Benjamin (Ben) is a nine-year-old with many strengths including those that come from Dyslexia. He is curious and wise for his age, and is always excited about exploring the outdoors and building imaginative worlds in Lego and Minecraft. This is his second year at James Cameron (JCS) and he has gone from viewing school as a frightening and unsafe place where he struggles to read and write to seeing JCS as a welcoming place where passionate and caring educators help him to grow and develop new strategies for reading and writing.
As parents, we all want what is best for our kids. At JCS this means meeting with the Education team to review an Individual Education Plan (IEP). This experience can be intimidating for families, as the delivery comes with all the educator “lingo” that can be foreign to us. Sometimes the conversation triggers worry and concern as the document spells out in detail the challenges that your child is facing. If parents take a moment to reframe the experience and strip the emotional response, the IEP becomes a go-to guide or reference tool for them, their child and the educator to measure how a child is progressing against their educational goals for that period in time and for the following year. An IEP becomes an empowering tool that involves all the key people who care about your child’s educational success.
This year, Ben was part of his IEP review. He was the first grade 4 student at JCS to participate in the discussion. Ben approached the situation with maturity and in his usual can-do attitude. He was quiet in the beginning but as the discussion progressed he became increasingly comfortable in helping us (his parents) and the JCS staff to understand what works best for him from a learning support perspective (for example, he appreciates having a scribe to write down his thoughts when creating stories or assignments). He even helped us understand how ineffective a paper document full of words is for a student with Dyslexia and his feedback will be used to help to create a more effective student version for the future. Thanks Ben!
We see the IEP as an essential and empowering step in developing an evolving plan that follows the child throughout their educational career.
By Jen and Gary (Ben’s Parents)