September 12, 2012

On Becoming a Mentor

Last night, I attended a training class to become a parent mentor for parents who have kids with special needs. I missed last month's meeting due to a brain fart - even though it was clearly marked on my calendar, I forgot all about it. My bad. There are opportunities for me to make up this class, and I will do so.

The reasons I want to be a MPACT parent mentor?

  1. I love being bossy. Should The Mister be the only dictator in the house? I think not.
  2. Since The Boy is now 17, I've had years of experience jumping through hoops to get school districts to provide services. Maybe now I can learn the "right" way to get things accomplished, and I won't have to resort to idle threats, eyerolling, and holding my breath to get what I think The Boy needs. And when those strategies didn't work, I'd had to find an educational advocate or education lawyer to attend meetings and get the school district to bend to my will - and when I write "bend to my will", I really mean that the district followed the letter and intent of the law regarding special education services. Just think, I could be the "hired gun" (even though it's a volunteer position). I'll act as a facilitator and offer support to parents.
  3. The Boy no longer wants my help; in fact, he has made it quite clear that he doesn't need ANY help at all. I figured maybe I can find a family who actually appreciates my efforts.
  4. I know that when a developmental diagnosis is made, it's hard to know where to start to find help. First, you grieve because the life you imagined for your child - you know, the "normal" life with normal challenges - that's gone. Parents step into another world entirely, and have to learn the jargon and official handshakes. You have to learn how your child's diagnosis will affect his/her school life, how he/she will navigate the murky waters of social skills and friendships, and help them prepare for the fullest life possible when they reach adulthood (which will be a lot easier if your child isn't resistant).
  5. As The Boy's mother, I've met great doctors, therapists, teachers, aides and other personnel - and only a few who left a little (or a lot) to be desired. We've been quite fortunate - perhaps this is my way of "paying it forward".
  6. I want to make a difference. Since I've been among the chronically unemployed, I've felt myself becoming 'less' - my interactions with other folks are few and far between. I'd love to join the community of parents and service providers who want nothing but the best for our kids who need an extra helping of support to succeed.
So the classes will continue, and I'll learn and read and study and, eventually, take a test that qualifies me to be a parent mentor in Missouri. May my interactions with school districts be satisfying and successful for all involved parties.


  1. Any family that is mentored by you is getting an incredible resource and person in their corner.

  2. Kim you are an unsung hero, and what you have to offer is a resource these parents will appreciate. You go girl!


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