Calling all Teachers and Administrators
Updated: Oct 10, 2020
Wanted: Hardworking, patient, knowledgeable about education, able to think outside the box, be understanding and compassionate of the struggles of raising a child with special needs, and have UNCONDITIONAL LOVE OF All CHILDREN!
As teachers and Administrators, we have all these requirements, but somewhere along the way, we lose some of these skills and focus more on budgets. I was fortunate enough to attend a conference for parents, advocates, and attorneys. The fabulous founder of Autism Sprinter, Yahaira Lopez, was a keynote speaker. She blew us all away with her story of raising an autistic child and the struggles she endured with the school system. She even went so far as to say that sitting in a TEAM meeting is like sitting at a meeting with the MOB! She went on to say, and you don’t know how the meeting is going to go. We all laughed because she is right! We have all been there, sitting in a room with 6 other professionals, and you are pouring your heart out pleading with the TEAM to give your child services, and all you get is a no. As Yahaira described it, parents are looked at as troublemakers for fighting for services for our kids.
As I spent time at the conference talking with other parents and professionals, the same theme kept coming up. At what point did everyone in a TEAM meeting stop believing in those skills that made them want to be a teacher and administrator, to begin with? When was it okay for professionals to think, wow, that parent is unreasonable, why can’t they accept their child has a disability, and that their child is never going to achieve what other kids will achieve? How was it that budgets were the main focus in IEP meetings instead of what a child needs to access the curriculum? And more importantly, when was it okay to look at parents as troublemakers when all they want is what is best and what is deserved for their child?
Raising children with special needs is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Raising children, in general, is hard, but when your child has a disadvantage from all other children, it is beyond hard. It feels impossible. When parents fight for their children for services to even the playing field, we are not trying to cause problems, as shown in the picture above. We are not unreasonable. We are stating facts, and we are stating laws, we are stating what is required for a Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restricted Environment!
I know first hand how difficult it is to be a teacher. How frustrating it can be when more demands are put on teachers with fewer resources. It is very easy to lose sight of why we got into this profession in the first place, which is to teach children. However, every decision we make is not about budgets, but about our students. All decisions made always needs to be about the students. This is why it is so mind-blowing to me how often we hear the word no regarding services for kids with special needs.
Calling all teachers and Administrators: Remember that we send our kids every day to school and leave them in your capable, loving hands to teach our children so they can be functional members of society. We know it is challenging to motivate and include every child. Please know there are plenty of children who need you to be Hardworking, patient, knowledgeable about education, able to think outside the box, be understanding and compassionate of the struggles of raising a child with special needs, and have UNCONDITIONAL LOVE OF ALL CHILDREN! We need your help fighting for services for our children. Be a positive voice. Signed: Parents