Friday, May 20, 2011

Stop Saying That You Understand...

Well, our IEP Meeting is set for Tuesday.
And while this last semester has been a tad rocky, I won't take blame for any of it.

In fact, I have been nothing but proactive for my daughter.
I am not a lazy parent that sends their child to school and tells the school to "fix" my child.

No, that's not me.

I am the parent begging for homework to maintain continuity between home and school.
I am the parent bringing my concerns to the school staff.
I am the parent asking them to up the ante a bit and challenge my daughter because I know and they know that she has the potential to succeed!
I call the Parent-Teacher Conference.
I follow the chain of command when I feel that my concerns are not being taken seriously.
I request to speak with Supervisors and Administration when I feel that I need to.
I am not asking for state-of-the-art technology to be used with my daughter...just common sense.
I am not demanding anything but what is suitable to her needs.
And I am not bringing in our Advocate or Attorney to our IEP Meetings because it was never necessary.
Yes, I am going to toot my own horn because I think I deserve to.

And then I am told that this blog has hurt someones feelings because they have read it.

I am a professional as well.
Many of you know that I continue to work part-time as a Registered Nurse.
And every month my boss shares feedback on surveys from our previous patients.
And occasionally we receive surveys that may be critical or damaging, questioning our capabilities and care that was provided.
I don't sit there and cry and feel sorry for myself.
I use it as constructive criticism.
This blog of mine is just like one of those surveys where our previous patients comment on the care they received while in the hospital.
There is nothing in this blog that I would not say to someone directly.
As you can see, I don't use names in my blog with the exception of my children's names and the names of the physicians and surgeons my poor kids have to see W-A-Y too much!

People don't live in perfect harmony.
People differ in their opinions.
People don't always see eye to eye.
This example is no different.

Having a child with special needs is no carnival ride.
And I hate it when someone at the table during a conference or IEP meeting says "I understand how you feel...."

Really?
Really?

No you don't.
So stop saying that.
You don't have a child with special needs.
You don't have your dreams shattered.
You don't have your heart ripped out and stepped on when someone tells you how the weaknesses and deficits are interfering with progress.
I am a nurse.
I am in the caring profession.
I care for very sick people with cancer and pain.
I don't tell them "I understand" because I don't.
I empathize with them.

EMPATHIZE.

Yes, I cry with them, but not tears of sympathy.
Tears of humanity.

STOP. SAYING. THAT. YOU. UNDERSTAND.
Because you don't.

Have empathy for those parents sitting around that table.
Try and put yourself in their shoes, listening to someone slaughter your dreams and hopes.
Don't make their lives any harder than it already is.
We all have crosses to bear in life.

This is my cross, and I think I am doing the best job that I can!

So if you are a parent with a special needs child of any kind, you are probably nodding your head in agreement with me.

But if you're the parent whose child is "perfect" and in a general education setting and is perfectly healthy and excelling through school and you have the picture-perfect marriage and you live in that perfect house with the white picket fence....

...you don't understand.

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5 comments:

  1. I can honestly say that when it comes to apraxia I do understand. It sucks. For parents who have children with worse cases or severe disabilities I don't tell them "I understand" because all I think is "you are amazing as a parent to deal with that" 'cause I know that as hard as it has been for me to deal with the 'loss of the dream' I know they have much worse.

    It bugs me when people say they "understand" when their kid speaks clearly in complete sentences while I live in a house where I have to uphold all sides of the conversations by myself.

    We're headed for our first IEP soon and you can bet I'm fighting for what I know my son needs... not what they think he needs.

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  2. Well, I do understand, but if you follow us at all, you probably know that... And ia agree with you 100 percent. I have had school district folks 'lurking' on my blog for a long long time.... Not sure why they care anymore, since we pulled jman from the district. Anyhow... I have had a hard time because I do now find myself censoring myself a little knowing they are lurking. And that has to stop.... It is my blog, after all, and yes... I would say it straight to them. I dont say names and I don't write personal things... Like they smell bad or something like that. ... But keep it on topic and tell my truth. So I understand and I completely support you

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  3. We feel the same as you, we maybe understant you...I hurt too many people with my blog. We are with you and your family from Barcelona.

    A big hug!!!

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  4. This has me thinking: Do I tell parents "I understand" when there's no way that I can? I don't remember a time when I've said that, because there is NO WAY I can understand what they're going through. I am in no way perfect, and I certainly hope that I haven't said that to a parent. And, I'm definitely going to pay attention and make sure I don't say it, because, you're right: there's no way I could. I can imagine, but not understand.
    Good luck on Tuesday; hope it goes well.

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  5. I always feel irritated when I hear about people telling a blogger their feelings were hurt by something they wrote. Its YOUR blog and you should be able to be your true self, and write about your experiences the way you experience them, without worrying that someone might take it the wrong way. I am studying to be a special ed teacher now... and if I ever come across a student's parent's blog and saw that they wrote something about me, I hope I would use it to help me understand the parent's point of view more clearly.

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