Well, I don’t know if you’ve heard but school is about to be back in and many of you are trying to figure out what to do. Do you send your kids back to school? Do you do it virtually? Do you sign up for some hybrid program? You know, we always want to do what’s going to be best for our kids.
And that’s what we’ve been working through at The STAR Center for 32 years. We’ve been trying to come alongside parents of kids with disabilities to try to figure out what’s going to be best for them. And it may not be what’s best for us as parents.
It may not be what’s best for us as a disability services provider, but we have to start with the individual that we’re talking about. You know when we think about transitioning out of school for those with disabilities… Often, we forget to ask the child, the student, “What are your hopes and dreams?”
And so, as moms and dads all across this country are trying to figure out what’s going to be best for their child, our encouragement to you is to make sure that you include that child in the decision, make sure you ask them what their thoughts are, what their hopes are, what their dreams are of this school year.
And I’m not suggesting that we just turn the decision over to the child, but I am suggesting if they’re old enough to participate in the decision. Their voice matters too. See, often times we do what we think is best for them. But we never ask them what they think is best for them.
Again, this is coming from 32 years of doing this work with individuals with disabilities and recognizing them as a person first. And we believe this lesson has lots to teach to those of us that have children without disabilities.
So, I just want to encourage you… nobody has the perfect answer to this question. Let us be gracious to others who choose things that aren’t the same as what we chose. And let’s always remember the person who will be impacted by the decisions we make the most is that child and if you can include them. We are here to support in any way that we can.
And we just want you to know this is a new normal for all of us and we’re standing right behind you as you try to make the best decision for you and your family… as all the other families across the United States are doing in this time.
Let me add this at the end, you know we often talk about the importance that teachers have on the lives of our young people. We saw that, when homeschool became the normal at the end of this last school year. Say a special prayer for your teachers as they’re going back to an unknown and a scary reality as well.
So, let’s be gracious to them, let’s encourage them, and let’s just remind them how much they mean not just to the student that’s going to be in front of them, but to those students that were in front of them last year and the year before that.
Take the time to encourage a teacher during this difficult time and remember include those whose decision the impact will have on.
Include them in the conversation.
This too shall pass. Keep your head up.
We’ll talk to you soon.
What are some challenges that you are preparing for with the new changes to the school system?