What one thing would you NOT say to a parent of a child with additional needs or adopted child?
When discussing my contribution to my children’s education that very phrase was uttered by a member of school staff.
To a parent who has tirelessly advocated and campaigned for their child, the endless meetings in school and at the council offices, the parent in the playground (the one you back off from) when the TA, teacher or headteacher approaches, “Can I have a word, Mrs Powell?”.
The parent who volunteered to go into school one afternoon a week to support their child in the face of nothing else available.
The parent who was telephoned that often the she developed a fairly debilitating phobia of the telephone.
The parent who had to read negative comments ad-infinitum in the school planner about behaviour from teachers who had little or no knowledge of attachment in the classroom and when I answered the comments was told to STOP (trying to silence me?!).
The parent who has faced discrimination and misunderstanding at every turn.
The parent who went part-time and then gave up work altogether to support her children.
The parent who re-trained as a counsellor so she could better understand her children and help them, who ran support groups for parents (and school always came up as an area of difficulty) who did workshops and worked one to one with parents and now runs health & wellbeing events, many of which are attended by parents.
The parent who keeps going when she feels like knocking her head against a brick wall with school.
The parent who is watching their child’s mental health deteriorate as a result of lack of understanding in school (and on suicide watch).
The parent who will never give up.
DON’T BIG UP MY PART!?
I should be shouting it from the rooftops – I should be in ‘The Press’ (I have about my parent support groups), I should be in the national press and magazines – (I was about school transition), I should be on the local radio (I have on many occasions about parent support groups and my wellness evenings), I should be on national radio (net yet), I should be on national TV (I was once invited).
I should be paid handsomely for advocacy, campaigning and negotiation skills (chance would be a fine thing).
DON’T BIG UP MY PART!?
I’m the reason my children get up for school every single day and do their best.
Here I am “bigging” up my part.
My tireless, relentless, tenacious part as a parent and advocate for my child in school.
I have a BIG part, a HUGE part to play as has every parent in how their children do in school.
Is that clear? (I am shouting now!)
Are you a parent or foster carer of a child from care? I am running a self-care evening aimed at you and after this I think I need it too!