Crying in the Car: Learning Lessons About Advocacy
As parents of our children, we know them best. We just do. Too often, however, we end up trusting the advice of others -- often well-intentioned professionals -- over our own gut instinct. Suzanne Perryman at Special Needs Mom shared a story on her blog recently about re-learning the lesson that she does know her daughter best. On a trip to a special needs classroom that had been suggested to her by her daughter's IEP team, she felt a myriad of emotions, forcing her to remember that she is her daughter's best advocate.
After visiting the classroom in question, she had a sort of epiphany:
I wasn’t sure at that time what my options were, but I knew that environment would have damaged my child, in a variety of hard to imagine ways. What if I had just agreed to the placement, that sounded so perfect on paper?
Those images, that classroom has helped me advocate for creating the right individualized education plan for Zoe to continue at our local, neighborhood school with the peers that have been kind to her since kindergarten and the therapy providers and nurses that have known her for years. The images from that day gave me the strength to ask her caring transition team if they have ever visited that classroom, spent time in that environment and then I suggested that they really should. What I saw that day has given me the strength to make phone calls and advocate for parents of special needs kids to visit the classrooms their kids are transitioning into -- urging them to spend time, meet the teachers, sit in the classroom and experience the environment.
The lesson I learned again is -- there just isn’t a teacher, a doctor or other well-meaning professional who definitively knows what is “best” for my child.
Suzanne's whole post speaks loudly to the fact that we know our kids best. Have you ever had an experience like this, where a professional or doctor or even another parent told you one thing but you knew in your heart that you were right?