One thing I have learned over the last 22 years with Elizabeth is that the advocacy does not end.
It may change forms.
It may change in intensity.
But it does not end.
This is something that I think about and as I look over my shoulder at the past parts of our journey, I can see how that is so very true.
In 2nd grade, my advocacy had me telling the teachers that she deserved a chance to be in a regular education room, now called inclusion, for more classes were planned. She deserved the chance.
In 4th grade, she did get to go to many inclusion classes. But now the advocacy involved teaching the teacher to believe in her abilities, to believe the things we told them about her disorders.
5th grade had its challenges with middle school.
9th grade brought challenges to meet and adjust to all new faces at high school.
There were so many times my advocacy changed and evolved. And I must be truthful, there were times when all was well, when the seas had calmed and she was thriving, that I wanted to believe we could…just maybe…be done.
Then a new challenge would show up.
Or a new struggle.
Or simply a growth in her that she needed help with.
And the need to advocate would arise again.
I offer this out because I just recently met with a beautiful hearted mom of, basically, a young Elizabeth. She had many questions and concerns.
And we talked for a long time. I told her I would help her in any way at any time. Then she said “It is like we take two steps forward sometimes, then one back. Or things are great and then something happens to make her stressed and we have a problem again.”
I told her what we do currently for Elizabeth to help her understand that the advocacy will be there. That is really is okay to know this now because it will help you when you want to question why you might need to speak up again, write ANOTHER note again or head on into the school, AGAIN.
If you see it as a part of what you need to do and not a setback, it helps change the mindset.
For the record, I just ran off information sheets about Elizabeth for her two new buddies at her college program. They don’t understand dyspraxia and so again, I advocate for my beautiful young adult.
Because by doing it, I know I am helping her succeed in this thing called life.
And I know, that is what we all want to do for our special needs children, as many times as it is needed.
I wish everyone a peaceful month.
Michele Gianetti author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”