Please welcome Stacey of Teaching Ever After. She shares her experience with making the switch from being a teacher to advocating for her own special needs child. Thank you for sharing your heart with us Stacey and creating such a useful freebie.
Today, I am not a teacher.
I am a parent.
I am a parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy.
I am a parent who is unhappy.
I am my child’s only advocate.
Four-and-a-half years ago, I became a mommy to the most beautiful little boy in the world. Due to complications during birth, he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. He is unable to walk, has difficulties with his right arm, and has speech delays. Despite all of that, he has been such a blessing in our lives, and I would do anything for him. Last spring, he started attending a special education preschool. I thought, “I have this. I am a teacher.” My husband and I attended his case conference and set up his first ever IEP. Everyone kept telling me, “You have to fight for what you want.” Even being a teacher, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect or what I would be fighting for. How could these people not do exactly what was best for my son? We made some minor changes, but overall, we were very happy and have been up until this point.
After some disputes my husband had with my son’s three therapists about communication, we scheduled a meeting. This is when I switched my hat from teacher to parent. I am a parent. This was quite possibly one of the hardest things I have ever had to wrap my mind around. I know that seems silly, but I had a mental block only allowing me to think as a teacher. My husband and I were having fight after fight over what were reasonable expectations. But I realized today that I can’t think as a teacher. I have to think as a parent, and NOTHING is unreasonable when it comes to my baby. I am a parent.
Today, I realized what our true role is as teachers. I have always known this, but a lot of times, politics skew things. I can guarantee that most of us went into education because we liked kids, and we wanted to help shape our future (summer vacations helped, too). Please tell me why we, the educators, have to fight against the parents when what the child needs most is for us to work together? Doing what is best for children should never be a fight. My son has been fighting since the day he was born, and it makes me devastated that he has to fight for what is best for him. Today, this parent is telling this teacher to remember what is most important…THE CHILDREN!
I will keep this experience in my mind as I prepare for future meetings for my students. I now have even more empathy for those parents sitting across the table. These are our babies. It is our job to protect them, to be their voice, to be their advocate.
I am a parent!
One thing I learned at our last meeting was how organized you have to be in order to be most effective at the meetings. I have created a Parent Survival Kit for Special Education Meetings. Grab your free copy here.
Included in this kit is a place to keep track of important information, questions, notes from your meeting, and a communication log. I will not be without my kit at the next meeting.
Thank you to Rachel for allowing me to be her guest blogger. I really appreciate it! I would also like to thank you for taking the time to read my take on a topic that is very near and dear to my heart.
~Stacey (Gavin’s mommy)
My name is Stacey, and I am a proud mommy of two beautiful children, Gavin and Norah, and married to the best man ever! I currently teach 1st grade and have been a blogger for a year-and-a-half. Thank you for joining me on my journey. I would love if you visited my blog Teaching Ever After.