Blogging A-Z: P is for parents. My career as a special educator has been deeply impacted by the parents of my special kiddos. As a group, the parents of special needs kids tend to be exceptional as well: exceptionally passionate, exceptionally informed, and exceptionally supportive. Here are some examples of a few families I’ve partnered with throughout the years.
Passionate: The parent that comes to mind for this category amazed me with her passion for her special needs son, Martin. While her husband also played an important role in Martin’s education, this mom was the beating heart behind their major decisions. With her impetus, they moved from a different state so Martin could receive improved services. She provided Martin’s teachers (and me) with helpful materials on his disability, along with thorough background info on his development and previous support services. She was gentle but also strong like a mama bear. There were times she had to leave meetings in her husband’s hands because her passionate heart was breaking. She suffered some explosions and implosions along the way, but her passion never wavered.
Informed: If there were a trophy for this category, I’d award it to a husband and wife team who have spent COUNTLESS hours becoming experts on their son’s disability. I know they never imagined the course their lives would take, as they shifted from concerned mom and dad to resident experts on dyslexia, apraxia, attention disorders, and behavior management. I can count on them to keep me informed and on track. They also share their expertise with local school leadership in an effort to pave a better way for other families confronting difficult issues. One remarkable aspect of this amazing couple is their humility. They always admit when they don’t know something and are gently persuasive when they do. They’ve been great role models for me!
Supportive: This could describe numerous parents over the years, but I’ll pick Claire, who is a resilient survivor of her own childhood issues. Claire’s particular gift is seeing the good, calling attention to the strengths, and being her child’s loudest cheerleader. Like other parents of special needs kids, Claire was unprepared for the struggles that began at birth. Joshua has always lagged behind, a startling contrast to his high performing siblings. But when you meet Claire, you know that Joshua is regarded as a leader, as a role model, as a bright light not dimmed by his struggles. Claire’s ability to capture the essence of Joshua’s strengths is delightful. He is blossoming into a precious young man with great hope for the future.
I would never have become an experienced educator without the passionate, informed, and supportive parents who have shaped my understanding of true education.