Last week I heard it 3 times.
You are the best advocate for your child.
Am I ?
I wasn’t actually familiar with the expression until I heard it from a teacher last year. The same teacher who had just let Nemo live his first 3 weeks in grade1 rolling on the floor and hiding under tables – without telling me about it!
When I told her that I will now find a solution with the principal, she told me the advocate thing, so encouraging! Obviously seeing no fault in her behaviour (she had told me she had ‘special needs training’ before – for what it’s worth..)
So over the last year what I found is that people say that a lot to me, and it seems to mean “Yeah, you’ll actually have to figure this out yourself” .
Now, my closest friends know that I have been a lioness for my son in the past, literally removing him from a hostile pack in my savannah and leaving for very unknown territory. All by my own.
Brave – because I had to be, to protect him.
But this advocate thing? Not sure.
Of course, I will love him, support him and supply for anything in the limits of our possibilities. But I find it frustrating and complicated to find out what it is that we have access to, what can be supplied and by whom. By law, or privately, locally, or nationwide.
Why is that so damn hard ?
Yes, I have been handed brochures, am reading relevant websites, and am now in touch with professionals in school, a paediatrician, a psy…
Still it seems that all impulses are coming from me, and from me alone. There is no one who sits down with a parent of a child newly diagnosed with autism and says : “First you do this, then you call there, and you also have rights to this, or try this.. “
It’s all over the place and people are not working together. You miss out and lose time. A lot.
Yes, I do want to be an advocate for my child.
But if I go to court for something serious, I will also not hire my bestie hoping that she will somehow pick up the complete legal system ‘as we go’ and get me through it.
I mean, maybe I am ungrateful. I was heard in school, got the diagnosis quick, some financial aide and have access to therapies. Sometimes, I feel I am very lucky with all that, here in Australia, in my corner of Queensland. It could be way worse.
But what if my English wasn’t so good, or – without being pretentious – I simply wasn’t smart or perseverant enough to deal with administration? What if I wasn’t a reader of blogs, for inspiration and relief, what if I was not able to put my foot down (a little) when necessary ?
Being your child’s advocate is serious business!
If you read this, you are probably in it as well. And all without any special training. Yay us.
Here is a more composed and equally as truthful post about advocacy for children with dyslexia. Just replace with the special need of your choice or in your life.