Advocacy, my way

April 13, 2009 at 5:05 am 3 comments

     I am a non-confrontational person by nature, but there are times when I realize there is no other route available. Once I found myself proudly and loudly on the opposite side of an argument with a district superintendent about putting an alternative high school in a special needs preschool building. The fact that this man found it so hard to believe why parents of children with special needs would have a problem with that explains more about his character than I ever could.  

     That incident was years ago, and since then I often find myself gravitating toward groups geared toward advocating for special needs kids. I enjoy being part of a group like that, but there are some that bring too much negative energy to the table. I’m becoming more and more wary of the groups with which I affiliate as I don’t want to be aligned with a group that fights the district at every turn. I’m a “kill them with kindness” kind of person who believes in building positive relationships with the people on my son’s team instead of seeing those people as the enemy. And frankly, my experience has been that  these people really care about my kid and will do their best by him. The minute I start feeling that the members of C’s team are not there for him, I know it’s time to leave.     

     More often than not, it’s the other parents who frustrate me more than school staff. When confronted recently by a parent who implied I don’t care what happens to my kid simply because I didn’t want to be part of a dysfunctional group, I blew. Not at her, of course, because I don’t do that, but inside. Not care? Me? Is she crazy? I simply choose my battles wisely, because there’s just way too much to lose.

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Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. robinaltman  |  April 13, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I think you are soooooo smart to pick and choose the groups with whom you affiliate yourself. I’m asked to join groups a lot, and I have had some amusing, but horrible experiences. You can easily find yourself buying cupcakes for a bunch of slavering nutjobs.

    Reply
  • 2. pixiemama  |  April 14, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I know it might be hard to believe, but I’m a kill them with kindness girl, too (I just end up writing about the major confrontations). I end up not aligning myself with any groups, lest I find myself not in agreement with other parents. I seem to be only able to speak for MY kids, knowing that what they need could be very different than what other kids need.

    That’s the tough part – we so need to advocate for all special needs kids but we can really only take care of our own, you know? I think that’s why change is so slow to come in the SN arena. It’s a frustrating dichotomy to say the least because I feel this need to make change, but I more need to protect my own child and my relationship with those that help him. And no, I totally believe you are that way too – I would never picture you as confrontational!!!

    Reply
  • 3. Alison Auerbach  |  April 28, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I’m sure you get this all the time, but your experiences and POV are so like my own that I had to write. I have a 6-year-old son with HFA, and C’s quotes sound like they could have come out of his mouth. I hope that one day my blog will be as polished as yours. If you have a moment to touch base, please do. If not, believe me, I understand, and wish you much luck.
    -AA

    Reply

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