Thursday, January 24, 2008

Disability Blog Carnival--What I Wish Professionals Knew

This week's Disability Blog Carnival focuses on the theme, "What Professionals Should Know About Disability" and is hosted over at Ryn Tale's Book of Days.

If I had a dime for every time a professional predicted an outcome for a child with a disability based on what they "learned from many years in the field," I'd be a millionaire.

Make that a zillionaire.

I've heard the same stories over and over from families: "My (insert professional) said that if I did (whatever it is they're recommending) then my child would (fail, succeed, you name it) so I better follow their advice or (earthquakes will happen, the world will end.)

No kidding, I would be rich, indeed.

So here's what I wish professionals knew:

Park Your Bias at the Door

You may feel strongly about a certain course of action, but pushing it isn't going to help either one of us. It is one thing to share your personal belief system and your knowledge in a way that helps me to expand my own, but it's another when you steamroll it over me or have an agenda of your own.

Expand Your Skills

You may be trained in one direction, but take a look at your profession and see if it can be expanded in other ways. Make sure you have the skills in all areas. I once had a pediatric audiologist tell me, "I don't have much experience around deaf and hard of hearing adults." If you're in the business of working with children, make sure you're familiar with the adult world they'll be growing into.

This is My Journey, Not Yours

I do value the input that professionals have given me over the years. What annoys me is when they don't like the direction my choices are going in and they express their opinion. Keep in mind, this is my life and my journey. Even if your professional opinion differs from mine, have the graciousness to expand your views to respect mine.

Finally, I'd like to share some tips over at Hands & Voices for those who work in early intervention with deaf and hard of hearing babies:

A Parent's Wish List for Early Interventionists.


Michelle said...

I appreciate your insight. I never try to be biased in a meeting, even when I may be. I certainly try to let parents know I don't know everything, let's find out together!

deafsingle said...

Good points. Thanks for your sharing

Terri said...

This is excellent advice for professionals--and just as true cross-disability. I hope professionals will take this and the advice for Early Interventionists to heart.

I am Trish Marie said...

Wonderfully put.

I have a habit of not exactly following advice given to me about my daughter. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I adapt it. Other times, I ignore it altogether.

My one wish is that doctors, therapists, etc would see that, as either the patient or the parent of, we have valuable insight. Just because I don't have a medical background, doesn't mean that doctors should discredited my observations. It is very frustrating at times.