Do you ever feel like you are against 'THEM'?
The people that don't understand learning differences.
The people that focus only on your child's difficulties instead of all the incredible things they can do.
The people that define where your child will be in the future.
The people that put your child in a box and place limits on them.
So really 'THEM' are the people that don't understand.
They have not lived with a learning difference.
They may be trained professionals that focus on identifying your child's 'difficulties' and then let you know what they are. They may even place your child in the 'special box' (which of course doesn't make anyone feel very special).
So US would be you, me, your child. Right?
But are we AGAINST them?
Maybe you are.
Maybe it's not going the way you want, and you are frustrated because you want to help your child. I get it.
I really really get it!!
Being against others leaves people hurt, confused, resistance, and angry. AND...It leaves you drained and mostly, it takes the focus away from helping your child move forward.
I know this sounds crazy. You are 'fighting' for support at school, but you are taking the focus away from your child?!?
Let me explain.
I've been there. So I speak from experience.
I was there as the professional -- the one trying to help others get what they needed in school for children to succeed with their learning.
I watched some parents fight so hard ...but get nowhere. And the sad part was -- their child wasn't progressing either.
When I was supporting my children's learning needs, I asked myself: what was I gonna do? Was I gonna 'fight' and 'make' people see what I saw? Was I gonna 'make' the system' get it right?
I could of but after watching other parents and seeing what I came up 'against' as a professional -- paperwork, delays, ineffective equipment, lack of understanding and training. I knew the answer.
I WAS GONNA DO THIS DIFFERENTLY.
I WAS GONNA FOCUS ON MY CHILDREN AND NOT THE SYSTEM.
At the time I didn't know what the results would be (honestly), but I was willing to give it a try.
Now years later I can tell you where we landed:
- School staff wondering how a child with an IEP could be in advanced high school courses with honors each year.
- School staff wanting to eliminate an IEP because my child was doing well now (the answer was no she's doing well because of the IEP and her hard work along with everyone else's hard work)
- Requiring limited accommodations as their skills improved and how they use their devices changed.
- They have a voice for what was needed for them -- given the class and the activities.
- And most importantly, they had an awareness that they were smart, capable and could define what they would become based on them -- not others.
I tell you this not to brag but to let you know that for the most part being against THEM was not part of my approach.
Empowering my children and giving them the tools to help them learn was my approach.
Did that mean I never encountered barriers? No. I did. All. The. Time. But I came back and talked to my children about the obstacles and what they meant. I kept the focus on US and what we could control.
We talked about what was important, how did they learn, what did they need, how would we deal with the barrier or problems in front of us?
From there, we worked on building the best possible relationship with the school staff.
Yes, even when they didn't understand.
You don't have to be friends with all teachers, but you can work with them.
You can walk into their classroom with a sense of 'let's work together' vs. 'what haven't you done for my child.' (Yes, most people can pick up on this body language)
If you find there's some resistance -- don't get upset -- lean into it. What can you do to help your child? Then what can you do to bring this back to the classroom?
Stay focused on your child and what they need and walk them through the resistance and empower them!
When you take these steps -- people notice!
People see the results in your children -- just like they saw the results in mine.
How could a child with an IEP get A's -- because they are supposed to.
Did I fight to make this fact known - no - WE showed them.
I believe the system will change from the inside-out. You focus on your child the most and the system less, and OUR children will show them what is needed.