It’s clear that the more our students with disabilities participate in their IEP meetings, and the more they learn to self-advocate, the greater the possibility that they will be successful when they graduate high school.  How do we as special educators encourage our students to engage in their own career planning and to self-monitor their IEP goals?

Last year the RSE-TASC and the Parent Center collaborated on an exciting new pilot project called “The Student Directed IEP.” During four two-hour sessions, ten districts learned how to encourage their students to participate in their annual review meetings. Teachers, administrators and support staff looked at evidence based practices and selected a few students from each school to work with on self-advocacy skills.

The highlight of the project was when the students presented to the larger group of professionals and parents using PowerPoint and videos.  Many in the audience were quite moved as students with varying degrees of disability spoke eloquently about their strengths, their career-goals and their dreams.  One father said as he was leaving, “This was the first time in my son’s school career I got to see him in a positive light!” We are continuing to work on this project with more and more districts participating each year.  Check our Events calendar at and talk to your district administrators to see if this is an initiative your district might undertake.