I've worked as a teacher for 10 years now. I have worked directly with children and their families for 18 years.
In those years I have spent countless hours in meetings about children. Whenever there is a concern about a child we (in the childcare and education industry) sit down and discuss the concerns.
I have sat with supervisors, other teachers, social workers, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, parents, advocates, nurses, children, siblings of children, caregivers, extended family members, friends of families, and more in my 18 years working with kids.
I have given my opinion about behaviors or progress toward a goal. I have raised questions about what might be best implemented to serve a child in the best way possible. I've listened to parents summon help from me and the system in which they find themselves. I have read reports, filled out forms, made and taken phone calls, e-mails and letters. I've spoken with kids about their life, their dreams and their perspective about what is happening to them and around them. I've helped kids and parents obtain an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) when their child needed it to reach their potential. I've sat in meetings listening to professionals and parents talk about a child.
The meetings in which they talk about the child. When I sit in these meetings I often am called upon first to give my impressions, being the classroom teacher. From there, the rest of the team gives their impressions, including the parent(s). I get an opportunity to see the parents as they talk about their child who needs help.
I often wondered what must be going through their minds, sitting in this room with a host of professionals discussing their child. What must it be like for them at home? How much have they been through that brings them to this moment and how much more will come for them? How do they do it?
The tables have turned.
Today Lindsay and I sat and talked with a professional about Ella. We talked with Jen, a "Service Coordinator" from Child & Family Connections, an early intervention organization.
Jen was very nice. She was personable and we enjoyed her company. She will be our personal coordinator for early intervention services for Ella.
She took us through the first step in the process. I was now that parent. I was the parent with the child who needed help. What was I thinking? What was I feeling? What brought me to this moment?
I thought that this is scary, but I felt loved.
I felt loved by my wife--because as we were answering the questions about Ella and our family, as we were filling Jen in about what has happened up to this point in time, both Lindsay and I connected on a level that I don't think we've connected before...a different kind of connection than we've had since we met.