Thursday, April 9, 2015

IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) Screen Printed Infinity Scarves and Cuffs

SOLD OUT: IEP screen printed infinity scarf on jersey knit fabric. This is the only one I have in this color,

I'd like to introduce you to my new collection of IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) screen printed infinity scarves and cuffs, available in my shop, Nelesc Designs. These are ready to ship!

IEP hand screen printed repurposed leather cuffs,
If you are a special needs mom or teacher, you know what an IEP is! But if you don't, let me explain. An IEP is a written document that is developed for each public school child who is eligible for special education. It includes learning goals, methods of instruction, and criteria for determining whether the child has reached such goals. This document is  compiled by a team; teachers, members of the school district and, of course, the parent, and is legal and binding wielding much power! 

IEP screen printed top by Nelesc Designs
These items, all hand screen printed in my home, complete with "method", "criteria", etc., were birthed from a conceptual art project. On April of 2014, I was asked to submit works to the first annual Bronx Art for Autism fundraiser which was held at El Fogon Cultural Arts Center. I submitted three works, one of them being a screen printed IEP top, seen here. The premise for the piece was the idea of the special needs mom being buried and overwhelmed with paperwork, the almighty IEP, being the main one! I wanted to transform this difficult, anxiety ridden idea of the IEP and the IEP meeting and the only way I knew how to do this was through clothing. Clothing is transformational for me. I started printing a blurred version of my son's IEP on cuffs and scarves that I handmade myself. Consequently, this very serious document became more playful, whimsical, and I began to breathe a little easier when I entered my sons' IEP meetings with these on.

Not that there is anything fun or whimsical about an IEP or it's meeting companion. However, I do have to say, on one occasion it did lighten the mood during one of my son's IEP discussions. "Is that an IEP on your cuff? commented one of the school's representatives during said meeting. I was caught a little off guard as special needs moms are more of my target audience, but, miraculously, it gave me a platform to talk about my struggles raising two kids on the spectrum and the day to day issues I face as their advocate. They were responsive, really listened, and asked questions. I was grateful for that. In a, not so bad, way, the IEP meeting was transformed into an episode of The View! Perhaps it made me more human to them as they got a better understanding of my challenges. I don't know. What I do know is that it eased the tension of this IEP encounter and the outcome was a success. 

I can't promise you will have the same experience, but I do hope that this new collection will inspire conversation about the triumphs and difficulties that surround the special needs mom life. 

At the moment, these are one of a kind, the ones in the shop are ready to ship. When the kids go back to school next week,  I plan to create more with the fabric I have on hand.  

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on these new items. Please tell me what you think in the comments. I respond to every one! 

Have a great day! 

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