If your child struggles in school you learn quickly that the situation often won’t improve until/unless mom or dad steps in and advocates for a solution. Many parents have started their advocacy journey by supporting their own children only to find that they want to help other families as well.
Debbie Meyer is one of those parents who experienced the sometimes difficult but rewarding journey from being ‘just’ a parent to child advocate.
I learned this the hard way. I successfully advocated for my illiterate, suicidal fourth-grader to get a free and appropriate education at a school specializing in proper instruction for dyslexic kids and strugglin
g readers. I also advocated for my mother, suffering from frontotemporal dementia, to get appropriate care at an assisted living facility.
In both cases, I was quick to understand that the powers-that-be thought they knew more and had more power than me. I gained confidence and balanced the scales by learning more, so I could approach conversations from a place of knowledge. I didn’t have to get a teaching degree or a psychology degree, but I had to learn what my son and mother needed, and understand why they weren’t getting it.
The post brought back memories. It seems like just yesterday when I first heard ‘ but you’re just a parent’ as an explanation as to why I didn’t understand what was right for my own child.
Being an advocate, even if it’s for your child, can push parents out of our comfort zone. Don’t let that stop you.
You can read Debbie’s story here at educationpost.org.
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