Since 1998, I have worked with hundreds of families, all of whom are struggling to advocate for their child with special needs. Their precious children, who they in their heart of hearts want to be the perfect parent for. Often mom and dad come to see me as they are distraught that their child is receiving an inappropriate or no education at all. If parents have found me, they care about making sure their child is educated so they will become successful members of our society. The goal for each child is independent living, employment, higher education, and healthy relationships (which hopefully leads to the possibility of grandchildren, maybe?).
Parents have tried and failed in advocating prior to our appointment. Often I am asked, “will you advocate for my child?”, “if I hire you, I won’t have to talk at the meetings?” and “can you fix my child’s education to make it the best?”
The answer to question #1 is: Yes, I will advocate for your child alongside you. Question #2: Sorry, no, you will have to talk at meetings, but I will be right beside you empowering you to advocate for your child. . Question #3: Fix to the standard is a very tall order! We can with little doubt make the education of your child better, though!
Advocacy is a process of communicating and building relationships so change happens. It is a skill that is practiced by doing, and we together will be advocating for your child. There is no perfect advocate or parent who advocates. We learn by doing. We will make mistakes, and the sooner you can accept this, the sooner you will be a good advocate for your child. Mistakes are just a chance to learn. And now you don’t have to be perfect. You can be good and productive getting your child’s education in order.