The Advocate

This week’s Carrot Ranch Prompt is about having another’s back. The post about struggles getting a PTSD diagnosis reminded me of struggles to get other diagnoses, especially for children. It takes a strong advocate, sometimes, to get the right services.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I wrote about advocacy in the school setting. My public information statement that goes with it is that you can often find help with school advocacy through your local P&A (Protection & Advocacy) office — every state has at least one. I am going through training this weekend to become a volunteer advocate.

The prompt:

August 12, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a character who is called to have the back of another. What circumstances led up to this moment? What are the character motives? Think about the interaction, the setting, the tone. What does it look like to have another’s back?

The Advocate

Mrs. Smith felt less alone when she walked into the room with her advocate behind her, but she still instinctively cowered when she saw the table with ten people around it. Ten people unwilling to expend resources on her child. Ten people who saw his naughty behavior as willful disobedience rather than inability to comply.

The teachers’ names flew past before she could take them in.

“I’m sorry, can we repeat those introductions, slower, so I can write down everybody’s names?” said the advocate.

Mrs. Smith’s shoulders relaxed. Finally, at this meeting, somebody had her back—and her son’s.

And with school coming up, I also wrote an article about my hopes for this school year. You can read it on ADDitude magazine.


13 thoughts on “The Advocate

  1. I can’t remember when I had to deal with an advocate – but I think I did. Maybe it was when my sons were at school and I was using that Parent’s Handbook. It is a great feeling to have someone listen to you with both ears. Have a wonderful school year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I saw elsewhere that your sons are in their 30s now … things have changed in the advocacy world over the past 20 years so it’s easier for parents, but still a steep uphill climb for many.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And then there are the parents who can’t see… We had a friend who was a kind of advocate. Had all this paperwork and help lined up for a parent – who refused to take it. Makes for a long day going home knowing that your efforts to help a child where stymied.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Denial is a big part of it. Many of these issues are hereditary and parents think “I was fine, he will be too.” Or they don’t want to see their child as imperfect. They don’t realize they’re harming their child by delaying our denying services.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. When I taught pre-school I had a big issue with parent denial. I went in a half an hour early to work with a boy with special needs. But his father could not believe that his son was anything less than perfect. Another father only saw his daughter as a princess – she was a biter.

        So I’ve seen that side too. Very sad.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice article too. Yep we had some of those challenges. Some teachers wore blinders like horses and if they did read the IEP’s they ignored them. Others were more beneficial.
    I’ve done my due diligence, now my own son will have to do his.

    Liked by 2 people

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