My village is small. The people in my village support me when my Autistic mind needs coaching. They know me well and will advocate for me when I can’t. They also ensure that I am the center of my Village, working together.
Likewise, our children have their village. Their Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Psychologist and the list can go on. What is important to remember that these people make up the support team for the child. Not the parents. The child should and must sit in the middle of their unique village, surrounded by people who work together to ensure they are thriving, not surviving.
The NDIS has bought greater pressure on schools with the management of the number of therapists and agencies who want to engage with them in ‘Individual Planning’ for our children. This challenge has resulted in some schools saying it’s too much. Too many Therapists, too many goals, too many expectations. Education (in some cases) has removed itself from the Village. Relationships are strained and parents are left in the middle trying to ensure there are common goals for their children.
I heard from a parent today who is desperately trying to bring the Village together. Her child has had years of work with ‘The Zones of Regulation’ and the family have a common language to support their child. Due to lack of communication between the OT and the school, this same program has been used inappropriately and years of work and growth has been undone in weeks. This child is now confused about the one ‘toolkit’ that was working for them. I’m sure that wasn’t the intended outcome, but the fact remains, these situations continue to happen. Communication is vital. Respecting each member of the village, their role and their expertise.
Our children have the right for their Village to be united in shared goals for their wellbeing and growth. Both ‘whole of life’ accommodations and ‘school’ accommodations need to be developed by the village with the child, not ‘to’ the child.
Yes, it takes a village to raise a child. A village that puts the needs of the child at the very core of everything it plans and works to achieve. Logistics and emotion aside, ask yourself – is this a reasonable request, is this respectful and is it their right. Hopefully the answers to the first two questions will eliminate the need for the third.