As a parent, I’ve been in your shoes. My daughter struggled with speech development. I used all the tools I had as a special education teacher to help her communicate. I was doing all the translating for her. It was her pre-school teacher that finally brought it to my attention that more help would be needed.
I could see what was happening, but I was too close to the situation. I needed someone else to step in and guide. I went through the assessment process. I lived through hearing the negativity about my child. I grieved the loss. Unfortunately, the system is set up to not step in until all has failed.
Thankfully, I knew how to advocate for her and stepped in to be her advocate. I worked with the team. I could highlight her gifts and help them see her possibility instead of her deficiency.
As a teacher, I was always the one who would spend countless hours with parents. If the child had high needs, I prepared them ahead of time to meet for a longer window. We would engage in a deep conversation to explore what was working and what wasn’t. I created a full panorama of what the child’s life was like in the classroom. I took the time to walk them through the IEP process – not just handing over the papers, but setting up their expectations, fully communicating the situation. Not something most parents would have experienced.
As a consultant, I meet parents where they are: what kind of parent they are, who their child is and identifying their strengths. I coach them on how to ask for what their child needs - from assessments to types of therapy that would be beneficial. I fully understand child development as well as the need for the emotional support of the parents. I can soothe nerves and help them talk to the school. Whether through interviews or actual assessments, I also dig deep for a thorough investigation into what is needed.