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A Parent’s Perspective—Twenty Years Later

child-advocacy-family-sitting-in-livingroomWhat have I learned after weaving my way through the special education maze?

Knowledge is power—you must be as informed as possible about your child’s disability AND your child’s strengths. You must know the law and how to use it. You must have good communication skills. You must believe in yourself. You must believe in your child. You must be creative. You must be patient. You must be part of a team. You will play many roles, not just mother or father but also Cheerleader, Advocate, Tutor, Lawyer, Researcher, Detective, Teacher, Mediator, Psychologist and Student.

Yes, you are the Student and your child is the Teacher. Your child provides the opportunity for growth not just for you as a parent but also for the teachers. Your child provides the opportunity for your school to grow and expand its vision. Your child says: “Look at me, I am different, I am truly an individual, you must change the way you’ve been doing things, you must get creative, you must try something new.”

You will at first cry, you will be frustrated, you will feel overwhelmed, you will feel alone, you will fight. There will be times you feel like giving up, but you won’t because you love your child too much. You will make a conscious decision to be part of the solution. You will make a plan.

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This story originally appeared in the IDEA Parent Guide.

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