The Power of Empowerment

We’ve previously talked about what type of advocate we are.  Assume Positive Intent.  We  have sat on all sides of the “EC table”. Please Don’t Say “It Will Be Okay” We both are parents of children with special needs, we both have worked in the school system as EC coordinators, special education teachers, regular education teachers, speech/language therapist, and Dean of Students.  We know the EC paperwork, the laws, school, state, and federal policies.  We have sat as advocates for families, teaching them about the paperwork, EC processes, and where to find information.  So why tell you all of this?

We want you to know that all of this has been creating what type of advocate we are. We believe in collaboration with other professionals.  We have yet to find one person who knows everything regarding EC.  We have experienced how important it is to ask questions, be involved, and listen carefully to how and what people say.  We believe in empowering families to be advocates for their children. We want to teach and encourage parents first.  We will coach you, guide you, teach you what we know so you are knowledgable and ready to communicate with your child’s school.  We want to help bridge any gaps between a school and a family.  We believe in the focus being on the child.  This is what we always come back to.  What does the child need? How can we help? How can the parents help? How can the school help?  After empowering the family, if you need additional support from us, we’re there.  We can sit as advocates for your child at meetings and help bridge those gaps where needed.  We also try to have open communication and collaboration first.

Advocate-noun. One that supports or promotes the interests of another.

Empower-verb. To enable or permit.

Mindful-adjective. Attentive and aware.

We support the interest of the child by empowering families first.  We are attentive and aware of the way we communicate with schools, families, and other professionals.

empowerment

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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Teaching Our Children to Be Includers

We have all read the beautiful story about a middle school child who walks into the lunchroom to sit by another student who is alone.  Maybe the child sitting alone has a disability, maybe not.  Maybe that child has unique quirks that are difficult to understand.  Maybe that child has a difficult home life or is battling an inner war we know nothing about.  Maybe not.  Maybe that child is just in need of a friend.

We grow up in categories and are lumped into groups….regular education, special education, speech delay, gifted and talented.  These groups stick with children for most of their school life. During a time of trying to figure out who they are, they are given titles to identify themselves. They look around for peers with a similar title and try to fit in.

We are firm believers that all children have gifts. There are children who can walk into a room and make everyone feel happy and wanted. Others can make a seed sprout into a plant with just dirt and water. While there are other children who understand math quickly or are talented in music. With the proper guidance, each of these kids will grow into happy, healthy adults. We must teach our children how to accept each other. The math whiz can be great friends with the farmer. Or they can decide not to be friends, but still recognize the importance of the other’s gift. No matter the gifts your child has, we need to model for and teach to our children how to accept each other for exactly who they are. We need to teach our children that their gifts are special and unique to them, but it does not take away from someone else’s gift. We are showing our children that there is enough for all of us; enough love, kindness, and happiness. Once we know this and teach it to our children they will begin to embrace who they are without labels. Some of these children will cross the barrier and sit with the kid who is sitting alone. These kids will continue to inspire all of us to be more compassionate.

 

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With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy