One thing that I think is just huge when you dealing with family, schools, support services, and friends. Is to give credit where credit is due.
Before I get to deep. I should explain WHO is a part of my team. For the purposes here. I will call them “Team Gillywacker” or TG. When we think of “team” we typically consider the people sitting across the table with us. And consultants who may contribute. I submit that you expand the view of who your team really is.
Without hesitation I consider my mother (who has passed) as a significant member of my team. I also consider a Grandfather, Grandmother and a long list of others who either live fondly in my memory or simply are unable to be with me physically. These are people I consider “At the table” with me in all meetings. And their contributions are to me, meaningful. There are others who are probably unaware of their place on my team. People who’s opinions I value and those who have set personal examples for me. TG is large and powerful. Much of it operates outside what most would consider “Team”
When your working with members of your team, any member. A teacher for example. Even when that teacher is not doing all you think they should, or could. Please, take the time to acknowledge what you think they are doing correctly. Let’s face it. Special needs is no walk in the park. A special needs teacher? Think about what this job entails. Their job is to show up to work every day with a good attitude. To not only use effective, proven teaching method’s. But to do that in what could probably be considered one of the most difficult of teaching environments. But that is not enough for our teachers. Special needs, especially specific special needs (my apologies to lispers). Are constantly changing. What could have been considered “Best Practice” last year may be considered a sin this year. So continuing education, remaining relevant in their field is a must. The last task to understand when thinking of a teacher. They are the “go between”. The one person between insane parents like myself and the rest of the team on a daily basis.
Consider for a moment the students aid, who has to have the people skills to be able to manage someone else. Through a day, a week, a year. In a sea of NT’s. Who has the desire to, at low pay. Get up every morning and do what I am sure at times is a thankless job. Its got to be tough.
Then there is the:
- Phys Ed instructor
- Support services like AEA
All with daunting task’s
And last but not least the Administrator. Who has to make, what I am sure at time’s are the uncomfortable decisions. These are the people who have to say NO. Who have to do, on a daily basis what we ourselves dread doing. To make decisions on whether or not, what we would like to do, are really “value added” activities. Balancing wants vs needs. This no doubt has to be extremely difficult at times.
When we see these folks doing the right thing. Even if it’s not everything we want. We should make time to say thanks. Draw attention, praise effort and success. Show our appreciation. Even if that person is in our view doing very little. They are more likely to improve. If they believe what they do achieve, will not go unnoticed.
We should also give credit to those who indirectly give us a boost. A good example for me is Emily and Chris Hamilton. I met Chris when he wanted to ask me questions in regard to their daughter. They had a situation and wanted to know if I had suggestions. The short version of this story is by them asking for help. I was helped. Talking with them boosted my enthusiasm, and strengthened my resolve. It made me work harder and longer than I had. Its so hard at times to sustain any level of motivation. You can see it in many of the faces of parents (and teachers) who have traveled the path before us. It just has a way of beating a person down. I don’t know if this is the right way to say this. But seeing other people struggling, with similar issues that I have. Somehow made me feel better about things. It encouraged me to do more. I am grateful we met.
My Mothers cousin Mark and Camille Anderson. AKA: My daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, son (ha). Who I am sure are unaware that they are a huge source of strength for me. Because what they have contributed, is simply being themselves. Setting a good example. Being good and strong “Special needs parents.
The thing about special needs and care giving is, It’s just not for everyone. In no way do I wish to take away from the relevance of people who have difficulty with it. Many of whom provide support just by the knowledge that they are in our corner. It just takes a certain combination of desire and people skills to make it work.
What is fascinating for me
is watching Nadine Glassgow provide care for Dg. I think its safe to say Nadine AKA Nana knew nothing about Autism. What she did know is, that she fiercely loved her great granddaughter AKA “Daddy’s girl” And she would not let a lack of formal special needs training get in the way of that. There is not a thing that goes on in Daddy’s girl’s life that Nana is not a part of. I am required (by threat of nagging) to update her on even the most mundane TG activities. I tease Nana often because, Well she has it comming. But I also look for ways to express my appreciation. Her efforts have been invaluable to TG.
The list of people who deserve to be told they are appreciated is long. Too long for this entry in my blog. And my intention is not to print a list. My intention is to suggest that when these people present themselves. Its not just something you should do. It an opportunity you have been given. Telling someone “Thanks” is an opportunity to shore up the team and encourage the fragile system we share. It spurs TG into doing better, greater things tomorrow. Without a TG I am truly alone.
My point is. Its truly incumbent on us, to build and support our own teams. This my friends is sure to pay dividends in the long run.
I will likely call out the occasional person on my blog and thank them. Put them on display for others to emulate. We have been particularly blessed with what I believe are some of the strongest team members in our area. And strong support from both family and friends. It may appear that I am leaving out the Hawthorn, FT Mad Staff and our local AEA. You have to understand that at this point, in my mind. You are all elevated to “Friend status”. You all rock. My sincerest thanks to you all.
There are times when a line is crossed. When a team can no longer be effective. This can lead to an infinite number of possible bad outcomes. And that should be approached in a very formal manner. These times I will discuss later.