Yo, Mick here. The dapper guy with pointy ears giving Mum dictation.
One of Mum’s friends asked her, “What is the most valuable thing you learned in your studies, that helps you as an autie-mom?” (Thanks Mama Mara)
So I’m handing the page over to Mum.
Hey, Mum Irene here.
I was working on a Master’s in Special Education degree mostly while my son Red was in middle school. As part of the degree requirement, I secured a job in special education. Without a credential, the best I could do was a paraeducator job. Fortune stepped in and I received a position at the same middle school my son attended.
To answer the question:
Never under-estimate the benefits of professional courtesy and proximity. These are huge benefits.
Other things I learned are; Red is a lot more capable than I’d assumed, my instincts are nearly always right on, it is important to listen to the educational professionals with an open mind and heart and to still trust your instincts.
Also if you feel the need or perceive something’s not “right” take some time to consider, ponder, meditate and/or pray – you don’t have to sign an IEP at the meeting, you can return to the table or sign later. Bring a friend to an IEP with you, if you bring a professional also bring a friend. (I spouse can also be a friend but this has not been my experience).
There is a fine line between advocate and nuisance. Perceptions do matter, professionals do talk, and being perceived as an antagonist is not a benefit to your son or daughter.
Connect with other families with exceptional children.
Take time to care for yourself. The flight instructions hold; put on your mask first so you’ll be able to assist your family and others and there are always others.
No matter how busy your day, take time to hold your sons or daughters, even if they are as tall as you and even if they do not have autism, maybe even especially then. At the least, make sure to connect in meaningful ways daily. This is more for you than for them although everyone benefits.
There is energy to be found when reflecting on past successes that powers and inspires solutions to current challenges. Take the time to reflect – (LOL yes journal!)
I’ll expound on these in my own blog,
Thanks so much for the question; it was more meaningful and insightful for reflection than the one I received in my final class.
Your questions are most welcome!
Mick, Thanks for sharing your blog space.
Yo. Mum, You’re welcome!