Advocating for your child can take a lot out of you as a parent. It is an endless, many times, thankless job. Seems like the only reward I get is an upset teenager, who thinks I'm always in her business. To her, I think she thinks I'm airing our dirty laundry for the world to read. Yep, it doesn't matter how blue in the face I get, explaining I'm sharing our story in hopes to help another. It just doesn't fly. She still gets upset with me.
I must admit I have days of defeat! Days when I step back and wonder, is all this really making a difference? Am I truly reaching anyone? Then, I have a moment like I had the other morning.
Sitting in an IEP meeting on full alert. My advocating uniform is on! Praying I'm heard! Hoping and needing this small group to truly see my daughter. I take a deep breath! Needing these teachers to put aside their teacher hats, the rule book attitudes, and, see my daughter! A teenage girl fighting to be enough in everything! Surprisingly......that is just what I received!
A warm cozy setting, light friendly conversation, and a deep honest regard for making this freshman year for Cora, a wonderful one! I felt today was a genuine breakthrough for me. These group of professionals asked questions no other teachers have ever asked. They wanted to know Cora as a person. They brought up ideas I never thought about, and showed me we were a team! The past years have been me, the parent, taking on the critically negative professionals. It has been a struggle to hold my ground, and not allow them to push Cora's needs aside, because she doesn't fit the "normal" IEP mold.
Today I leave this meeting with a tiny victory! I feel like this group of professionals get Cora. That they CAN help her to succeed now and beyond. This is the first group who has thought about her life after school. Really, this is the first time anyone acknowledged that they need to begin preparing her for life after graduation, whatever that path may be! As a parent doing my darnedest to provide as normal a life for Cora, I'm most grateful. The teenage years have been a challenge this far, but adulthood is going to be so much more difficult! Equipping my CHD daughter sooner than later, may make the extremely bumpy road ahead a little bit more bearable!
Blessings Until Next Time!