Being Your Child’s Advocate

by guavalicious on May 17, 2011 · 2 comments

in The Invisible Mom

NOTE: Born Just Right is growing to offer additional perspective and support to parents of special needs kids. If you’re interested, check out this post.

Remember the meeting I talked about last week? Where I walked out feeling like the worst mother in the world? I also left that meeting feeling hopeless. Because when I asked what our options were, I was told that we had none. We could take what the school district offered or forgo public assistance and do private tutoring. I knew then that I could never go unprepared again.

Like many women, my tendency is to to be polite and deferring. I leave the “bitch hat” off. But I realized that when it come to my kids I am going to have to put my bitch hat on at all times.  I am still polite but now I push back when I don’t like the answers. I go into every meeting armed with a list of questions and idea of what I think is best for my child. My husband and I are careful to discuss before hand what we think is the best plan so we are able to present a united front.

We are blessed to live in a city with a wonderful school district filled with fantastic educators who I truly feel care about our children and want the best for them.  But wanting what is best for them is not their job. Their job is to think of everyone in the classroom, of budgeting, of what they are legally required to do. And that’s okay.  I approach each event like a partnership, but I also know that my husband and I are the ones who have to represent our kids until they are able to.

So now I push back when therapists show up late. I speak up when things aren’t working. When someone tells me no, I work a way to yes. I reach out to organizations that can give me advice. I research what options are available. I spend time online seeking out new ideas and therapies. I make it my job to be their advocate, even if I have to ruffle a few feathers to do it.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Davis May 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Just some advice from an “old” mom. The best way to get the services and accommodations your child needs is to always be prepared for litigation. Document, document, document. Build a binder of everything that happens from the smallest phone call to notes to recording of meeting. Honestly, being prepared and letting the other side know you are all the time will prevent litigation. Make sure you check out the website. They are amazing with resources that are state specific.

And, another bit of advice, just because you get the IEP or 504 plan written doesn’t mean it’ll be carried out, not because there is a negative intent, just because stuff happens. Always follow up regularly with your child, the therapist and teacher.

Best to you and your child.

Sandra Cissell May 18, 2011 at 7:57 am

Kudos to you for standing behind your daughter! I did the same with Lindsay, even though we didn’t always get the response we wanted. But the main thing is that it taught Lindsay to stand up for herself and speak up when things are not just right. And boy does she! I am so proud of her!

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