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: