Always be honest with your advocate, or one you are seeking to hire. In my work, I give phone/email references because social media is simply a forum to be manipulated- parents need to call other parents directly. Hiring an advocate is a huge choice. One of my biggest joys is having 90%+ of families whose kids are still receiving services reach out annually for my attendance at annual reviews.
99% of parents who contact me do so being honest. If you sent a mean email to your school, no judgement here, it’s not the end of the world because the work I do is about CHILDREN w disabilities. If you wrote a blog or had a podcast about how BAD and EVIL (never my words!) your district is, tell the advocate you want to hire. Don’t play surprised – or victim- when those (even rightfully indignant) blogs are read by your district.
Don’t then pretend your advocate, who has done excellent work for your children, is an enemy because they reality-checked you. Be a member of the team. No one in this “business”, school or parent side, should be actively attacking one another in writing. Social media lives FOREVER.
This work is about kids. Helping kids, mostly with autism, many with Ds and emotional disabilities, for me. It’s about resource and referral to help give parents’ options.
It is time for all of us (myself as a mom included) to own our responsibilities to our kids by specifically blaming those who did or didn’t do something we thought should be done 3 or 5 years ago. We ALL need to use independent educational evaluations and observations to support what our kids need.
In this new year, hire an advocate you have reference checked- and let it sink it that a GOOD advocate will be honest with strategic options. They may even ask him extra options for stress relief which you can choose to accept or not. Don’t obsess if someone doesn’t agree- you can probably find a “talking head” if you look hard enough. No one who does this work, me or anyone I know, wants anything but to extricate themselves from situations where parents go in a very different direction (and I understand that). No one is going to drive 50 miles or 200 to attack you in your shower. “. That is literally mentally something you need to get help for￼. NAMI.
What I will never understand is placing titles and immature names on kind and smart professionals who helped you and most importantly your kids. That is drama one makes up internally. Instead: “breathe”. Exhale.
Advocacy isn’t a perfect job. Parents and kids aren’t perfect. We are ALL in this together.
I am so blessed to work YEAR after year, some 10 years+, with amazing clients and some really exceptional school TEAMs.
Here’s to an amazing 2020, helping kids!