Being THAT Mom
I can remember being worried about asking questions. I should know what all these acronyms mean right? Everyone else at the table seems to understand. I don’t want to ask “What does that mean?”. They will assume I’m questioning their competency. Maybe they will question my competency. I’ll just write it down and look it up later. Meanwhile I’ll just nod my head and agree that we need an FBA to be included in his IEP in an effort not to rock the boat.
I was attending a meeting for my son who was having behavioral challenges during the school day. The challenges were preventing him from participating and staying in class. Random thoughts were going through my mind… I thought, I’m the one raising this child so surely it was my less-than-par parenting skills that contributed to this problem in some way. Why can’t he just sit still, listen and go with the flow? – kind of like I’m doing at these meetings.
I was so worried about being thought of as “That Mom” and it was preventing me from asking questions. These were questions that I needed answers to in order to give valuable input as part of my son’s team.
Looking back now – here is some advice I would have given myself:
*Get CONNECTED to another parent who has experience navigating similar situations.
*Go online or to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) presentation to better understand the document, as well as your rights and responsibilities
*You are part of the team. As part of the team you need to ask questions and give input.
*If you are questioning a reason for an action or an explanation for an acronym, chances are another person in attendance is wondering the same thing.
*Bring a friend with to be a second pair of eyes and ears. Maybe someone who has a child with an Individualized Education Program or someone who may just provide the extra support you need to have the courage to speak up and advocate for your child.
If being “That Parent” by definition is advocating so your child can learn and succeed then own it. You are not only part of the team you are your child’s MVP.
Written By: Kelly Korpela, Parent Support Navigator