Do you know that we have written over 55 posts? There is a lot of great information on our website but we are still navigating an easier way for you to find it. For now, if you go to our homepage and scroll down slightly you will see a sidebar on the right hand side that says “Archives.” August through January will be listed. When you click on a specific month, the posts that we have made during that time will be listed.
For August, we have written information on knowing your forms, differences between 504s and IEPs, what to do if your child is struggling in school. Here are a couple of direct links from August 504 and IEP’s: What’s the difference? and Know Your Forms-Referral For Help
In September, you can access posts about how to make connections with students, resources for schools, and our mission. Here are a couple of direct links to September’s posts Please Don’t Say “It Will Be Okay” and Know Your Forms-IEPs
When you browse through October’s posts, you will find information on how to teach our children to be includers, what can you do if your Team doesn’t agree on a decision in a meeting, what schools can’t tell you in meetings, and who benefits from social skills classes. Here are a couple of direct links Who Benefits From Social Skills Classes? and Executive Functioning Skills
November we introduced our Middle School OTB (outside of the box) Club and wrote details about what and how to perform a Functional Behavioral Analysis. You can find those here Middle Schoolers OTB (Outside The Box) Club and Functional Behavior Analysis (FBA)
In December, we wrote about the importance of assuming positive intent first Assume Positive Intent, school choices in North Carolina School Choice and how to formally request an evaluation from your child’s public school Requesting an Evaluation.
Also, as you browse through past posts, you will find photography paired with inspirational quotes. We also offer a free monthly parent/ guardian class on understanding the components to an IEP. We are excited to be hosting a Mindfulness class taught by Maria Hartemann once a month. Our six week session of social skills classes begin this upcoming Sunday. All monthly events are listed under the tab “Upcoming Events” at the top of our website. Check us out on FB as well! We are trying to “go live” once a week with answering questions that have been e-mailed to us. Do you have a topic that you would like to hear more about? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love connecting with you!
Christina and Wendy
Advocate-noun. One that supports or promotes the interests of another.
Last night we had a big reminder. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they know. As the school year progresses, we have to continue to remind ourselves that, typically, people don’t want to hurt or cause harm to others. Oh sure, when sitting in meetings, we sometimes run across those who are stubborn or can only think one way about a situation. However, we have found that their intent is not to cause harm to our children. All of our actions and reactions are based on the story we tell ourselves about any given situation. Often times when others know our story and we try to understand their stories, our perspective shifts and we are able to compromise more easily.
Holding true to our mission, we view advocacy as helping the child. Through that, we work on listening to both sides at meetings and bridging the gap between the school and the parent. The focus remains on what is in the child’s best interest with what their current needs are.
Our hope is that school staff can see how lonely and overwhelming this process is for parents. Without meaning to, most schools have set up a us vs. you scenario. Teachers and administrators, when a parent walks in the door, welcome them. Invite them to sit next to you. Offer a hug or word of encouragement. During the meeting, be mindful of how you speak to the parents. Be careful not to talk down to or over their heads.Parents are the people on your team who have the most information about this child. If you feel you are becoming defensive, ask yourself why.
Our hope for the parent is they come in the meeting with an open heart. The teachers sitting around this table typically have worked with many different types of students. They have experience and knowledge of what’s typical at this developmental age and what is not. They know who your child is at school and in class in a way we, as parents can’t know. Honor their thoughts and feelings. Honor their expertise. When you begin to feel defensive, ask yourself why.
When feeling defensive, going back to what matters is important and that is the needs of the child. Not our adult agendas and stories. Putting those aside, we can focus on trying to see and understand the child’s story, their learning difficulties in school, and what he/she needs to “level the playing field” at school to have more successes. There is always a uniqueness about every child that needs to be celebrated and honored. We all need to be the village surrounding the child.
Wendy and Christina