The start of the school year brings a mix of excitement and nerves for kids and parents alike. New teachers, friends, and experiences await, but as a parent of a child with special needs, like my son Guion who has Down syndrome, the beginning of the school year presents unique challenges that demand our advocacy.
Guion, now entering his junior year of high school, has shown me the importance of adapting our advocacy as our children grow. We need to help them become self-advocates while remaining their steadfast support.
A key lesson I’ve learned is the power of teaching self-advocacy. Just like life skills, our kids can learn to express their needs. We equip them with tools to communicate their desires and navigate their successes. For children who may require more assistance, like Guion, our role becomes even more vital. We ensure their needs are met and collaborate with educators to create an inclusive environment.
Throughout Guion’s education, I’ve encountered educators who genuinely care, though not all possess the same expertise. This has driven my determination to be an advocate, ensuring every aspect of his education aligns with his potential.
As the new school year begins, let’s stand beside our children and champion their potential. Here are a few ways you can advocate for your child throughout the school year:
For those of us with a child with special needs, here are a few additional considerations:
Our advocacy will evolve alongside their growth, creating a world where their uniqueness is not only celebrated, but their voices are heard. In the midst of this year’s journey, let our unwavering commitment guide them towards a future where their brilliance shines without limits.