Ch 3. The Dance Manual

This chapter started out by giving parents a list of suggestions. The one that stuck out this most to be was to Aim high and resist the pull to limit their dreams. I think when you are given a list of diagnosis or labels on your young child it is easy to drop what you think might be their future. This sticks out to me because as a person with a disability I remember hearing of my parents reactions. Many professionals were already explaining my future. They were listing things that I would never do. And as 20 plus years have passed, I am here to say that they were wrong about most.Though some of those things were achieved later in life such as driving a car, and some achieved differently such as when I read a book, the dreams were still achieved.  This sticks with me when I am working with a very young child with very big words attached to them. To tell a parent to not have big dreams just because the dreams may have to be altered is wrong. Another piece of advice that stuck out to me was to give feedback. Parents should provide professionals with feedback. Tell them what you like and don’t like about how they approach the situation. If you like a certain way they dance, let them know so that they can continue to move that way, but if they are stepping on toes that needs to be acknowledged also.

The third piece of advice for parents that I liked was this, “A primary role of parents is to support their children to understand their disability, to know what supports and interventions they need, and how to advocate for themselves” This was a big thing for me personally. I owe a lot to my mother always teaming up with my vision teachers at school to help me learn how to advocate for myself. Without her showing me by example time and time again, I would have never had the courage to go to college professors and explain what I need to be successful in their classes. If we are going to keep dreaming big for our children with disabilities than we need to show them how to advocate for themselves so that one day when they are adults they can create even bigger dreams for themselves.

As the chapter continued another point that stuck out to me that was directed towards professionals was re framing the phrase “being in denial” to ” being in disagreement”. I think this is perfect for really retraining your brain to see the big picture and different perspectives. It is so easy to see it from just one side. Especially if you start taking every blow given personally. When we take a step back we start to realize there are other things going on.

Towards the end of the chapter they talk about different suggestions. I thought it was a neat idea to have table tents with names and roles on them. I know personally I forget coworkers names, I can not imagine how a parent feels walking into a room full of people who you can not for the life of you remember what they do for your child. As I close, I think another good point made was speaking about beginning and ending meetings with intentions and care. I believe that caring and having genuine intentions can speak louder than having all the answers.  It is weird how much this book has been speaking to me more and more on relationships in general, not just in a meeting room.


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