Information for parents of disabled children

Friday, February 12, 2010

He wasn't there again today!

Antigonish by Hughes Mearns

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door... (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

Sometimes poetry says it all, and, for some reason, this says it for me this week. Dealing with teachers and administrators can be easy, and it can be hard.

Today, I went to my son's school, and I was the man upon the stair. There was a visit in the offing of township special ed. coordinators, and a parent advocate in the building . . . well, it just isn't done. I'm not saying I was asked to leave, but had I been another parent of another type of disposition I would have been.

It's that old conundrum, go-away-come-back, that all parents involved with a child's education get to experience at least once. The pervasive attitude in schools these days is to complain that parents are uninvolved and to push them away should they get too involved. It's a frustration, mostly for the parent.

My suggestion is to always begin as you intend to go on. Start from the first to let your teacher's know you're there to stay. I tend to make the assumption that they want me there, even when I know they probably don't. No one usually contradicts my assumption and collaborative relationships are born.

How we overcome this institutionally, I don't know. As parents though, check in with teachers before you go in, but let them know you intend to check into the classroom occasionally and expect to be able to do so. It's so important, especially when you have a nonverbal child. Volunteer to read to the students or find a way to become a part of the classroom occasionally. You'd be amazed how much teachers appreciate this kind of support.
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