The afternoon was rather warm, almost uncomfortably so. The parking lot was just starting to clear following the bus and parent carpool line activity. The office staff was already chatting about the evening plans and upcoming weekend while I sat waiting to be given my badge sticker marking me as a visitor on campus.
Why was I at the school? To advocate.
When I meet new people and tell them that I advocate for children with learning delays – the automatic assumption is that the work is done solely with the child and the direct parent(s). While that is not incorrect I do want to clarify. In my work experience – I advocate within the ‘circle of influence’ of a child. This means that I coordinate conversations with coaches, other professionals, tutors, babysitters, extended family members, teachers, and principals. Not just the immediate caregivers.
On this day, I was meeting with 2 teachers in their classrooms. Teacher #1 was quiet, well-versed, passionate in her work, thoughtfully prepared with samples/files, and fairly open to the conversation. Teacher #2 – let’s just politely state that she was not excited to meet me. The child we were coming together to discuss (on the teacher’s own time I should add) was that of a girl, aged 10, who had an array of academic challenges. These sticky points sometimes bled into the typical behaviors witnessed in classrooms, but overall, she was a lovely and mindful young lady.
Teacher #2 went first because she made it known that she was irritated that I was there to tell her how to teach or work with a child in her class. I spent time asking a great deal about her training, her background, what she liked/disliked, how long she had been a teacher – I wanted to get to know her and relate to the unique experiences she had. Moving on, I got full descriptions on what the typical day was in the classroom. We discussed areas that were challenging for the girl and the class, how much assistance (and in what form) was given, what she felt comfortable in doing/trying, how previous meetings may have gone, and what sort of time constraints and pressures she had daily and weekly. Teacher #1 did the same. I then asked them both to share with me the top priority issue they wanted to resolve. We went through several options and I focused on those that would be best to try first (based on information shared with me prior to the meeting). Two goals were set for the following week; with follow-ups according to each of their schedules. Her parents received a general review of the meeting so that they were informed of what was planned.
When we reconvened one month later, teacher #2 met me in the office and walked me back to the classroom. She was very pleased with the outcomes so far and was eager to tell me all the details! Teacher #1 joined in and we openly discussed another goal setting and meeting (via phone). The fantastic thing that was sparked – both teachers had gotten together to ‘think tank’ some ideas to add to the entire classroom based on ideas we had discussed together. The teachers had started to communicate much more freely between one another as well.
Why was I at the school? To advocate.
To support the ‘circle of influence’ between the teachers for the little girl (and her classmates). That support helped to open up the communication between and with other educators, to foster the sharing of ideas, and impact the learning of the child. That is precisely what I seek to do when I advocate. Support.
In the role of advocate, Mrs. Lascano draws upon experiences utilizing sensory motor movement, brain development, coaching, parenting tips, positive psychology, and outside-the-box tools. Connections between Neuro Touch Inc. and other local professionals ensures additional options and resources can be provided to those who are seeking help for a child or family concern.
Neuro Touch Inc. ‘’bridging connections in education’’ www.synapse-sync.org