Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Making Your Own Mistakes (as Your Mom Tears Her Hair in the Background): I've been reading a lot lately about self-advocacy as an essential college skill for kids with special needs—most recently, in a post on Different Dream for Your Child—and, sure, of course, it's true. Colleges don't want to talk to the Warrior Mom. If young people can't speak for themselves, they don't get heard. The thing I'm struggling to accept about self-advocacy now, as my daughter makes her way through college, is that it is not a duplicate of mom-advocacy. She doesn't do things the way I'd do, the way I spent years and years doing when fighting for her was my responsibility. That's somewhat crazy-making. I've had to take a deep breath and remind myself that doing things for yourself often means making mistakes, and learning from them, and finding your own solutions that work for you. We don't expect typical kids to make all the right decisions during their college years—in fact, we rather expect spectacular screw-ups as they find their adult legs. Why should kids with disabilities be any different?


Jen said...

I have similar problems...My worry is that there is so much more at risk. because she is special needs, mistakes can potential kill her (or at least cause permanent damage). I try to give as much leeway as I can until I reach those limits. If she doesn't study or go to class isn't a big deal to me - if she misses her meds or an appointment that is a point where I feel I need to step in.

Terri Mauro said...

Yeah, I'm lucky not to have the meds and the appointments to deal with. With my daughter, it's more a case of not wanting to ask for the accommodations she's been allowed. Our deal is that as long as she passes her classes, she can make those decisions, even if I think they're wrong, wrong wrong. If she fails, then she has to do things my way. Two successful semesters down, grades for the third coming up.