WORKING WITH THE SCHOOL
Our world has been changing, By that I mean we are just beginning to talk about Elizabeth’s transition from middle school to high school. I find it exciting on one level and frightening on the other. My thoughts go from ” I hope Elizabeth will be understood” to ” I hope that the new teacher and I will have the great relationship that I have now” to ” I am so happy to know how to advocate for my child” The last skill has been one learned and fine tuned with the very experiences of my life with Elizabeth.
Having said that I thought that while I organize my thoughts for the future, I would re-post a blog entry or two from earlier in my “blogging past” that could and will, I hope help those just starting on the road with the schools……Hope you like it and thanks for your support and for visiting my blog.
We have been working with the school for over 7 years now. I know my knowledge of how to advocate for Elizabeth has grown so much since her first year in the public school system. It is a funny and ironic thing but the schools are there to educate children but sometimes the schools need to be taught on how to teach a child with special needs.
My daughter has dyspraxia and sensory processing disorder, both disorders are not always recognized. But both make learning and achieving so hard. And both affect Elizabeth each and everyday of her life… That makes teaching my child much more difficult. This is where it became vital that I become an advocate.
Being an advocate takes a total change in one’s mindset. It takes changing from assuming the school and teachers are doing what they are supposed to to making sure that they are.
It takes a lot of work and a lot of record keeping but most importantly a belief in your child’s abilities.
One of the hardest things, I think, is the initial conversation I had with the school about our child. She was just 3 years old then. I felt nervous describing her to them. Partly because I just did not feel they would understand her and her needs, and partly because I was just figuring out how to achieve successes with her and I wanted to make sure they understood how she “worked”.
I think my advice to those just starting to think about talking to your local school system about your child is this….BE SURE OF YOURSELF, DO NOT FEEL INTIMIDATED, AND FINALLY BELIEVE IN YOUR CHILD AND BE WILLING TO ADVOCATE FOR THEM IN ANY SITUATION. Try to get yourself into the right mindset, the one being that you know your child better than anyone, that you know what they can do, what they can’t quite yet do and why. You know the signs of a meltdown, and signs of overload, You know their sensory diet needs, you know why dyspraxia makes pencil holding hurt sometimes, or that focusing their eyes are hard. YOU KNOW SO MUCH…Now is your time to teach the teachers. Once you get in a good mindset then you will be ready to talk and to see if what the school offers is the right fit for your child right now.