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From Both Sides of the Table: Insights From Educators who Parent a Child with Special Needs

by Kirsten Haugen
September/October 2011
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/from-both-sides-of-the-table-insights-from-educators-who-parent-a-child-with-special-needs/5020146/

Raising children who struggle or stand out due to a disability can be both heartbreaking and heartening for any parent. When the parent is also an educator investing their professional energy to help children grow and learn things get rather interesting. Carol, Craig, Lisa, Patrice, Rebekah, and I are all educators who have children with special needs. Spread across four states, we have worked in early childhood, elementary education, early intervention, ESL, music, assistive technology and related fields for a combined total of over 100 years! Our children range in age from five to 15 and face challenges such as autism spectrum disorders,
bipolar disorder, language delays, social-emotional concerns, specific learning disabilities, fine motor delays, auditory and sensory processing issues, and attention disorders. Literally and figuratively, we have sat on both sides of the table, and that dual experience has transformed both our parenting and our teaching.

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Our professional expertise both aids and confounds how we parent our children with special needs. For example, at my son's first special education meeting, I knew what to expect: the laws, the paperwork, the alphabet soup of ASD, IEPs, IFSPs, OTs, PTs, SLPs, and so on. That did not ...

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