Advocacy, my way
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.