{ABC’s of Inclusion} V is to Voice Concerns

{ABC's of Inclusion} V is to Voice Concerns; Removing the Stumbling Block

One of the things that we most want for our children is for them to become self-advocates. We want them to develop the skills and have the confidence to speak up and share their needs in meaningful and constructive ways. So we teach them. We model and we coach and we encourage. 

Parents must voice their concerns, in a measured and appropriate way, to help their children find success. And yet, many parents struggle to be appropriate advocates themselves. Some are overcome by what seems to be the insurmountable challenge of managing day-to-day life. Others find that they are too timid or shy to speak out in meaningful ways. And still others find themselves, after years of being told “no”, poised for yet another battle rather than ready to engage in meaningful advocacy.

Teachers need to voice their concerns, too. Teachers spend hours each day with children; sometimes they spend more time with children than parents do. They have valid and valuable insights to share. Yet, teachers must work hard to balance these messages of concern with words of encouragement and praise.

It can be challenging when it seems as though every message from a teacher is something else our child has “done wrong”. Nevertheless, parents need to be open to these messages and work to understand that most teachers have the best interests of our children at heart. 

None of this is easy. But it begins by voicing concerns. We need to set the stage, in both directions, for positive dialogue. Open and honest dialogue is critical to helping all of our children become the independent adults we pray they will each become.

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