Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Self-Advocacy

I post so much and so often on Facebook that it's often hard to remember to blog; but this topic is definitely more appropriate for the blog than for Facebook.

Ramona has some learning issues going on.  Without going into the whole backstory, she doesn't have an official diagnosis, but we have figured out some things that work differently in her brain and some coping mechanisms that make things easier for her.

A term that was bandied around a lot when I worked at a University was "advocate."  As I was writing a VERY BRIEF letter to her new teacher, the thought occurred to me that Ramona really knows what makes things better for her in the classroom and that she is old enough now to learn how to self-advocate given the right support.  So, after I wrote 7-8 sentences giving a very brief background, I sat down with Ramona, read her the letter and asked her to tell me some things to tell Mrs. Smith about what makes school better for her.

I was blown away by a couple of her observations, prompted her on one, and in the end she came up with 5 things that she either wanted Mrs. Smith to know or that would make the classroom easier for her.  We rehearsed what she would say to Mrs. Smith and then she said something entirely different when we got there.  I could see she was so nervous, and I was so proud of her that she spoke up.

After she got this over with, she helped me with Girl Scout recruitment; or perhaps I should say that she and two other Girl Scouts did recruitment, and I just watched.  She worked that table like a BOSS and told me later that the adults were surprised that a Girl Scout could talk so well.

I think she'll be just fine.

These learning issues don't keep her from a loving to read nor from devouring books!

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