Towards the end of the self advocacy webinar yesterday we started talking about how self advocacy is important not only for the autistic children themselves, but also for the parents of autistic children, especially those who are getting results from horse, movement and child-led therapies- (ie, "alternative therapies") Often times parents are bullied by professionals, doctors, neurologists, school districts and IEP meetings into thinking that only certain therapies are valid- and it's very important for them to be able to stand up for themselves. To be able to say, you know what, my child is going to this place where he/she is allowed to just play and be herself, and she's growing and learning and communicating because of it. We've seen th' looks on peoples faces when we tell them about child-led learning- or that our classroom is a field- yes th' results speak for themselves, but often times others don't see th' results, so we as parents need to be able to advocate for our own choices.
Anyone have any ideas about this? Let's share ways to help encourage th' parents and siblings to be advocates too.
This is a really great question. I think parents often feel powerless especially because many teachers and therapists present themselves as the 'experts' and believe that there way is the only way. This is actually why we created the guideline trust the experts to help professionals understand that whilst they might be an expert on 'autism' they are not an expert on each individual child. The only people who are the experts on each individual child are the people who live with and spend a lot of time with that child - usually the parents and siblings.
One of the ways we try and empower parents to feel confident in advocating for themselves and their children is to provide them with knowledge. If they know and understand the science behind the methods that we use (child led learning, kinetic learning, nature etc etc.) then they will hopefully feel more confident that it is the right thing for their child and also confident in convincing other people that is the right thing for your child. So hosting parent trainings when you take them through this science is a great way to start. The other good thing about that is it will allow the parents to meet other parents with similar beliefs about education and learning to theirs and we all know their is safety in numbers.
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