Thirteen years of my life have had annual meetings where a team gets together to determine individual goals for my girl. The team presents the positives and then the test scores and then the goals and objectives. Aside from a two and a half-year window of excellence, the remaining IEP meetings have been rarely anything more than a time when the concept of a ‘team’ is portrayed but in reality, it is far from a team.
As a player on this so-called team, I am the one that is expected to sit quietly on the sidelines while the rest of the team goes about their game strategy. When I decide to ask questions about the strategy, the team recoils and it is soon evident that I am considered by the majority of them as an opponent and not a team player.
A team player is a person who willingly works in cooperation with others. Cooperation with others in the form help is accepted, ideas are shared, willingness to do something different. And yet, on this particular team, help and ideas have been considered to be the tool that has drawn the line in the sand–the line of opposition. Again.
I am not the opponent. I am the voice.
In a couple of years, other players on this team will get to take her file and put it in the drawer of files that no longer get looked at. But for this player, the file will remain open and the journey will continue as we will venture off into world beyond goals and objectives. Perhaps it will be in that game, the voice of an advocate won’t be penalized, but instead appreciated.