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Behind the Breakthroughs

Oct 24, 2018

In this episode Dr. Nunez and Maylene talk about the dreaded IEP and how to make this process successful. When going through this process it is important to keep an open mind, think outside the box, and to work collaboratively with one another because everyone has the same goal in mind... which is the child's best interest.

It is IEP season and the top three things that make an IEP successful are setting the goals high, having both home and school environments collaborate and work on the same goals, and most importantly parents need to be involved. This is a time when parents need to become their child's expert and advocate for their needs. 


  • It is October and parents start getting anxious as behaviors start arising with their child.
  • The honeymoon stage from the transition of summer to school has ended as kids get comfortable and old behaviors start to arise.
  • It is also IEP season and Dr. Nunez and Maylene have been going to a lot of IEPs.
  • A lot of times they see that the expectations are set low for their clients because they have a diagnosis of autism.
  • It’s frustrating when professionals think so low of their clients because they work hard with their clients in the summer to prepare them for the school year.
  • They always get the excuse that working 1:1 is different than a school environment.
  • It feels like schools use that as an excuse. They need to take some responsibility in the equation. If a child has a skill in a 1:1 setting, it is the schools responsibility to figure out how to get that child to generalize skills.
  • It can be frustrating for outside professionals when schools aren’t willing to work with you and you sense there’s an ego involved.
  • Professionals should let the egos go and work collaboratively. Learning form each other is key to success.
  • Think outside the box and be open and collaborative because at the end of the day we all want what’s best for the child.
  • It is not about who can do what or who is right or wrong. Let that ego go and think about what is in the best interest of the child.
  • What is going to make the child most successful in school? What is going to get that child to graduate and not be passed along? What skills does this child need to become independent?
  • People need to understand that when you set the expectations low for a child, they will meet those low expectations.
  • Both home and school environments should have the same expectations for the child.
  • It is unfortunate because Dr. Nunez and Maylene have observed that once a school knows the diagnosis of a child they immediately set the expectations low.
  • You don’t know how a child will respond, so set the goals high.
  • If the child meets and exceeds a goal, set a new one. If they aren’t meeting the goal, then revisit it and see if there’s another way to get the child to meet that goal.
  • Parents have the right to go in and change goals on the IEP at anytime
  • Nunez and Maylene highly recommend for parents to be involved and to go into the school every other month to observe and get an understanding what is going on at school.
  • See if the IEP goals are being worked.
  • It is important to know that your child is not being passed along from grade to grade.

MINDSHIFTS (takeaways) 

  1. Set the expectations high for your child.
  2. Parents go in and observe your child at school. Be involved and check in to make sure the school is working on IEP goals.
  3. Become your child's expert. Walk into the IEP knowing what your child can or can’t do. You direct the IEP, not the professionals and advocate for your child.
  4. Create a pamphlet about who your child is. What your child likes, dislikes, how to engage your child, what they are reinforced by, triggers, strengths, etc.