An advocate?!?

February 20, 2014 § 4 Comments

Wow!! So today we had our appointment with a person who specializes in my daughter’s disability. It was wonderful to feel supported.
It was wonderful that she understood my daughters syndrome without me having to explain.

She said something that has been burning in the back of my mind for a while – “Your going to need an advocate.”

There it was the thing that I’ve been trying to avoid for 7 years – an advocate.

I said ok because I knew she was right I just never wanted to have to do it before.

As an educator I have only rarely been in team meetings with advocates. I can tell you that when the team hears “advocate ” they begin to thrash, begin to cover all their bases and prepare in way that they never did before. I have been told in the past (not at my current job) things like “no matter what hold the line.” It is like battle. It SUCKS! It sucks for the parent because they have had to go to this length and expense to be heard. It sucks for the school staff who suddenly feel as if they are on trial.

I wish it didn’t have to be this way. I really do. But I do need an advocate – I need someone to be able to speak for me in these meetings who isn’t feeling the emotions that I am feeling. No need someone to not get dazzled and distracted and someone to take the pressure off me. I have always felt I
could do this for myself – after all I’ve been teaching special education for over 20 years and theoretically I can do it! I could do it for someone else’s child no problem without a blink of an eye ! But when it comes to my own it’s just different.

Educators I will tell you again THIS IS NOT PERSONAL THIS IS BUSINESS! This is me being a mom. This is any parent who has been in these shoes doing exactly what they need to do in order to support their child. Again, in any other model medical or business we would not have emotions come into play like they do in our education system, even when it comes to our child. Maybe the difference is in education these people spend each day with our child and other models it’s not the same. Either way, remember as an educator, that it doesn’t have to be a battle, you don’t have to hold the line, You CAN enter team meetings with an open heart and an open mind. You CAN work collaboratively with parents to help them help their child get the best possible education. You too can advocate for the child. Please educate with your heart.

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