I have no patience with nay-sayers. During my adventures in Special Education Advocacy, I hear special education advocates, attorneys and other parents say things like “well that is the decision the school has made, so you are just going to have to make the best of it.” Or, “Yes, all parents have to pay for their child in the interim, that’s just the way it is.” Or “There are no exceptions to this rule.” Or “You can’t take your child out of school two hours early regularly, he will be truant.” Or “Our school doesn’t have a program for people like your daughter to swim every day – the swim team uses the pool every afternoon and there is no room for her.”
These are actual statements I have heard people, with supposed authority, like advocates, attorneys, say to parents as valid reasons for denial of services or assistance. The knee-jerk certainty that makes these nay-sayers declare that because something that hasn’t been done in the past can never can be done. Just because some authorities cite something is “the rules” or “policy” doesn’t make it so.
With a little digging and investigation, some “rules accepted as “the way it is” are invalid. Often with some critical thinking and questioning things that seem unreasonable, I have found that proclamations that things are “Just that way” is bullsh*t.
Whenever I hear people dismissing possibilities as “the way things are” without questioning the possibility of something different, I dismiss the person from the team. We special education parents have enough roadblocks, we don’t need to hear them from someone who is on our team.
I question everything! Why can’t it be done for this child? Where is it carved in stone, or stated specifically in any regulations, that certain things, out-of-the-box things, that may benefit a child or family of a special needs child, can’t be done.
I choose advocates and persons with fiduciary responsibilities for special needs kids to have a “can do” and “let’s find a way to” approach. More often than not, people who question and pursue alternatives to the “way it has always been done” accomplish parent’s goals, and get the job done.
That is definitely the tactic I take. I am not saying that I make promises I can’t keep, but I will say, “let’s see if this really is the end of the road – or if we can open new doors that have been artificially closed.