Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We Must Advocate!

The job description is broad: "Mother, judge, lawyer, veterinarian, nurse, event coordinator, chef, maid, bus driver"...and the list goes on. Moms are stretched already but if there is a higher-than-normal-needs kid in the house, we have no choice but to add to that description. Now there is: "Advocate, pioneer (relatively new territory), campaigner, messenger (we need to share what we learn), spokesperson, pleader (some of this is necessary).

Ignorance has no place in our lives as parents of ADHD kids. We must read, listen & learn. Our kids can NOT slip through the cracks. Our most important treasure on earth is our children and for them we will do whatever it takes to get them the best help.

What does this mean? This means working side-by-side with their teacher, school & principals. This means passing along tips that are helpful but then getting out of the way so that the teacher can work! Advocacy means listening to our children's needs and being there for them. Advocacy does not mean we excuse their behavior or criticize the people around them. In our home it has a positive spin. School isn't the only place that is challenging for our kids. All social areas can be chaotic for them. If my child is sent out of a church class every week, I need to get into that classroom. I ask the teacher what it would take for my child to be successful. If that class/teacher is only capable of working with the "easy" kids it's my job to find another church or class. This one doesn't work. We experienced this. Our son has attended a new class for 7 months and has never been sent out. When he was absent a "we miss you" message was sent. YES!!

Being a parent of a high-needs kid (specifically talking about ADHD here) is not easy. I roll up my sleeves and get busy every single day. I walk a fine line as an advocate. As a parent I want to go to bat for my son but I don't use the bat, so-to-speak. The other adults in his life are important to me and I treat them as such. (Yeah, even if/when I don't agree!)  Advocacy becomes a life style.

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