Saturday, August 29, 2009

Be proactive this school year

As parents of children with developmental delays, Denise and I have been told to "wait and see" more times than we care to count. Wait and see if the skills emerge. Wait and see if he needs extra support. Wait and see if she's able to make friends. Wait and see if the kids tease his extraordinary qualities. Sometimes waiting is the prudent thing to do -- wait for the best, not the first; wait for what's right, not what's right now. However, what we've learned is that waiting to disclose our child's differences only sets everyone back.

We've chosen to be proactive about educating our own children's teachers and hope other parents do the same. We hope teachers and administrators don't wait for a crisis in the classroom or on the playground to work together with parents and guardians to get some peer sensitivity training underway. We hope education teams aren't hesitant to set examples of inclusion and acceptance. We hope they serve as models of life-long learning and growing, of reaching and striving.

Let Good Friend come into a staff meeting to do an in-service. Invite us to conduct a peer sensitivity workshop with your student's grade. Schedule a general student assembly during National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week. By being proactive, you let others know that students with differences are not an after-thought, but an integral part of our communities.