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Opinion & Essays - June, 1994 Issue #28 


I am a parent with a special needs child. If you are involved in the treatment of my child, please... 

Treat me with respect. I am a human being deserving of the same respect you deserve from me. 

Treat me as an individual. Give me and the other members of my family the benefit of the doubt. My child and each member of our family is unique. Don't judge us or make generalizations. 

Explain. I need to understand the rationale for your recommendations as well as the recommendations themselves. If I don't understand or agree with your recommendations, it is unlikely I will follow them or otherwise support them. 

Be honest. Honesty builds trust. I need to be able to trust you to make appropriate decisions for my child. If you are less than honest or if I get the impression you are less than honest to me, just once, there is little chance I will ever trust you again. 

Be direct. I do not necessarily have the time or the patience required to guess what you are trying to say. 

Be kind. If my child is having difficulties, I suffer with him. Please consider my feelings, the high level of stress I may be feeling, and how your decisions and recommendations may affect the rest of my family. 

Listen. I am the best expert there is on the behavior of my child. I have valuable experience and insights that can be very helpful in your treatment recommendations. I will also be more likely to support your recommendations if I am involved in the planning process. 

Remember, we're supposed to be on the same side... We all want what is best for my child. 

(The above was reprinted from the quarterly "Caring Concepts", published by Buckeye Boys Ranch in Grove City, Ohio. It was written by a parent of a student admitted there who "was able to conceptualize and commit to writing his needs as a consumer." Contact Buckeye Boys Ranch 614- 875-2371 for information about obtaining a reprint on parchment paper.)  

Copyright 1994, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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