Okay, it has been over a week since I blogged and I have been too busy getting Boo ready for his NEW School!!!; to write anything good lately.
But I have been thinking a lot about this theme of RESPECT.
So I am going to do what I did when answering that last exam question and time was running out; Get some main points down and hope to get some kind of a response.
As a theme in special needs it covers many Facets.
Respect for parents who can see that something is wrong, and who need to be listened to.
Respect for the child with the needs. Respect that they need to be who they are, but also respect for giving them the best chance possible. Respect for their strengths and interests; Respect for their challenges.
Respect for Potential. Understanding that nobody, no matter how profoundly disabled can be considered a "write off" or "beyond help".
Failure to respect this makes it possible to withdraw resources, to justify redirecting those resources as "not sending good money after bad".
That just demonstrates a lack of imagination and creativity. It is always possible to give someone a better quality of life by tailoring the skills you are trying to teach them to their individual abilities and challenges. Everybody can learn, we just have to keep finding new ways to teach.
Respect for every one's civil right to equality.
Respect for qualifications and experience.
Those with experience need to respect those with qualifications earned.
And those with the qualifications and degrees (and white coats) need to respect those with the front line hands on experience.
Respect for other people's opinions on their child, and the decisions they made with the knowledge they had at the time. If there is only one thing we can all learn from each other is that you can never judge another parent for how they deal with their child's birth, development and needs.
Respect for how others perceive the world, and what they expect from it.
Respect for the culture of individual disability and special needs.
Offer them the means to develop the ability to do things "our way", but if they still want to do it their way; respect that. - why should they always have to be the one to change?
Those of us who can appear fluent in the strategies to cope with the "typical" world, can have a range of little cheats that help us keep up and overcome our own weaknesses. If you find arithmetic challenging, you use a calculator. If you have a poor memory, use a diary. If you cannot understand verbal directions, you ask someone to draw you a map (or get a SAT NAV!)
By the same token we should recognise that our children, who may find auditory instructions challenging; will always need a visual prompt, or those who have difficult articulating their needs may need to use sign or picture exchange as a back-up. Or those who find handwriting frustrating and difficult, should have access to a keyboard! (like me)
It is not about denying the opportunity to develop pronounciation or practice drawing your letters, or to practice listening to and following verbal instructions. That should always be resourced.
It is just about allowing and respecting that some people are always going to need a visual schedule to get them through the day, and some people are going to be able to express themselves more comfortably in sign, and write more fluently with a type pad. (like me!)
When we imagine the child with special needs as someone who is learning to live in a "foreign" culture, and speak a "second" language, we should also imagine what it feels like to relax, and just do things in their own way when they need to. Respect that.
And very importantly, respect yourself. All too often we do not respect ourselves and our own ability to tell when something is wrong, we don't respect our right to get the appropriate ENTITLEMENTS with regard to improving our kids lives, and then we do not respect our own judgement when the text books and experts are telling us one thing, but in our hearts we want to do it different. And finally we do not respect what a great job we ARE doing and value it.
So yeah, As Madonna says: Respect yourself!
Respect for the Journey, whatever stage you are at.