Friday, March 12, 2010

Career + Mommyhood = New Perspective

I've been a special education teacher for about 8 years now. I currently work as co-director (my new title) of Abi's Place in South Florida. I am well-researched and knowledgeable about my field. I know about child development, available services, IEPs, how to creatively write and address goals, behavior modification, etc.

I think not being a mother when I began my career was actually helpful. It didn't allow me to get TOO drawn in to parents' stories. Becoming a mother has changed that. We had this amazing mom come to the school yesterday, and she wanted nothing more for her daughter to attend our school next year. When we told her she was accepted, she had tears in her eyes. A similar situation happened about a month ago with another family. I used to be all about the children and what I could do for them. Sometimes it was about the families, too...but now so much of it is about the families. We recently opened our doors to a therapy center, so they can provide children with services at Abi's Place in the afternoons. A seven-month old baby girl was getting some physical therapy yesterday. It made me think about...what if Lydia needed that now? What if I had to take her for physical therapy or speech therapy or any number of doctors (neurologists, gastrointerologists, etc.)? It would just be heart-breaking.

However, what I still struggle to relate to is when parents don't advocate for their children. When they don't educate themselves on their child's disability and how to best meet their child's needs. I just can't relate... Your child just becomes such a part of could you not want to better your life together?

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