Advocating for Your Child with Special Needs - Myths and Realities

Myth: Parents are too emotional.
Reality: Because of their life experiences, those parents who choose to participate in the decision-making process are almost always realistic and knowledgeable.

Myth: Parents are too closely involved.
Reality: This is precisely the reason they can be effective in the decision-making process. They learn the system out of necessity and so can help shape policy and services from a 24-hour practical assessment.

Myth: Parents are   only concerned with their child.
Reality: Parents who are involved in public policy-making are those who have learned that in helping themselves, they help others.

Myth: Parents always want more.
Reality:  Parents want some control over the lives of their children who are disabled. They only want for their children what the law says they are entitled to have.

Myth: Parents have no understanding or appreciation of funding problems.
Reality: Parents are taxpayers as well and as such do not want to increase spending unnecessarily or irresponsibly. Frequently, they are more sensitive to unneeded expenditures for low-priority programs.

Myth: Parents are troublemakers.
Reality: Taking part in decisions that affect the lives of family members is being responsible, not troublemaking.

Myth:   Parents expect too much.
Reality: Parents are acutely aware that good programs and an array of services can maximize their children's potential. Approaching that goal for people with special needs is cost effective since the more independent they can become, the less service will eventually be needed.

Reprinted with Permission from Down Right Active newsletter.

This article first appeared in issue #13 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us

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