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AKA in Review- February 2010 Education Meeting

February 28, 2010

On February 15, AKA was honored to host Carole Hurley, local attorney and adoptive mom.  Ms. Hurley was asked to speak about “Advocating for your Adoptive Child in the Child System”; her expertise gained through both personal and professional experiences.

The Early Years: Who do we tell what? Prepare your child for the questions they may be asked about who they are and how they came to your family.  Any adoptive family can verify that they’ve been asked a fair amount of pretty outlandish questions.  Spend some time talking to your child about what it means to be adopted and how to answer questions from (usually) well meaning individuals.

Explain Behavioral Issues to Teachers, including strategies and solutions that work.  Some teachers may be more receptive of this than others.  Ms. Hurley recommended that all adoptive parents be present in their child’s classroom as least a few moments each week- even if that means picking up or dropping off your child in the room instead of in the circle drive.  Remind the teacher that you both have the same goals.  Be clear you aren’t asking for special favors and let her know, “I want your day to go better.”  Ask your child’s teacher what he or she needs from YOU and emphasize that you are on the same team.  Don’t forget to educate other school professionals about your child’s needs- bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and library staff have lots of contact with your child in less structured settings.

Be Aware of Developmental Delays, particularly if you haven’t been parenting your child since birth.  There are many services available to serve children with developmental disability.  Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) provides services to children age 0-3 who meet the appropriate criteria.  In Travis County, ECI services are offered through Any Baby Can, ATCMHMR, and Easter Seals.  Ms. Hurley suggested that parents encourage their child’s daycare or preschool teacher to be supportive of your child receiving  services inside the classroom instead of being pulled out.  Research indicates that the new skills your child learns in ECI will better easier for your child to use in different situations if the intervention occurs in a natural environment.

Know Your Options.  There are a lot of services available to your child that you may not be aware of.  Did you know that your child may qualify for public PreK?  Ask your school personnel about scheduling an IMPACT meeting.  Advocate for 504 modifications.  Insist your child’s IEP is being followed.

Ms. Hurley suggested that parents look into community resources such as:

Sammy’s House

Advocacy, INC

Rosedale Family Support Co-op

Thank you, Ms. Hurley, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to stop by AKA (on a holiday!) to share your experience and expertise.

What resources have you found to be beneficial to your family or child?  Tell us about it in the comments section.

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