Magazine article Volta Voices

Serving Our Purpose

Magazine article Volta Voices

Serving Our Purpose

Article excerpt

INPROSEC International Professional Section

Years ago I attended several Individualized Educational Program (IEP) meetings with a family who had a child with hearing loss. We discussed establishing a spoken language program for the child rather than placing him in the alternate program offered by the school system. After a few meetings, the mother decided to move forward with the school's existing program. As I was trying to convince the mother to change her mind, the child's mother suddenly said to me "You don't understand! I just want him to be happy in school. I don't want him to be the President!"

Those words have stuck with me throughout the years. They remind me that while I might vigorously advocate for a child, the parent is the child's first advocate. I need to listen to the parent because my goals may be completely at odds with theirs. Every parent comes to a meeting with his or her own perception of what their child needs. To effectively advocate, professionals need to clarify their purposes and ensure that their convictions match those for whom they are advocating.

We all talk about advocacy and agree that it is important. So how do we become more effective? Below is a list of questions that may seem selfevident but certainly bear repeating.

Are You Listening?

The most important word we teach children is also the most important word for professionals to remember. Listen to what parents are saying. What is it they truly want for their child?

Are You Acknowledging the Other Party's Concerns and Ideas?

Try to genuinely understand where other professionals are coming from, even if their point of view may appear different than yours.

Have You Thought Through Your Position?

To be a successful advocate, you must think about a meeting, talk to parents, and recognize what is reasonable in your position.

Why Are You Advocating For This Issue?

Are you fighting for a particular issue because it benefits you, your program or the child? …

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