Friday, February 4, 2011

Building Trust with Liam's School.

Today was a different kind of day than I've had almost since we got here. While this new place has so many more resources than Texas ever had, I've still always felt somehow insignificant or less than capable here. In this place, everyone who comes in contact with Liam or CJ is a pro and I'm "just the mom". I've felt like Liam's teachers in particular thought of me as overwhelmed, unable to really meet his needs, or ignorant to how to work with him. Every time I would come away from a parent education meeting with him, I felt like I was doing something wrong and was failing him.

Things were starting to get a little better as I talked to the director of his school more and more, and she got a chance to know me a little better. I felt like I was kind of breaking through her walls and earning little bits of her respect. That was all well and good, but she wasn't the one who worked directly with Liam. I wanted his teachers to understand that I am a skilled, caring, well-educated and informed mom rather than that one mom who is running late all the time, has her kid in mismatched socks, and just doesn't appear to ever have it all togehter.

Today all that changed. I didn't work with the center director and instead worked with his one-on-one Deaf ed. teacher. What a difference!! We worked together with Liam and she instructed me on what to do with him. To my pleasant surprised, she felt like I was "a natural". I did confess to her that what she was asking me to do was very similar to what I did as an autism therapist, so it took no time to pick up right where I left off.

Working with Liam and sharing a little about my background opened up a dialog that I think we both needed. She needed to know more about Liam and his family; what life is really like here. She finally caught on that I had been feeling a little bit judged and I feel like she genuinely knows now that I really am working with him. She seemed to understand so much more once I laid it all out on the table and was clear about the changes in our lives here vs. Texas. Suddenly it was like her light bulb came on and she really understood me.

It's just one small step, but it was huge for me. I feel like I can trust Liam's team a little bit more now that I know they trust me a little bit more. It's amazing how far a little bit of honest communication can really go!