Vocabulary Can Cause Stress

Hello, Parents!

It is not easy to learn the vocabulary of other professions or vocational fields when you don’t work in them.  The stress comes because when you’re in school meetings and doctors’ offices, people are using words you don’t know and you don’t understand what professionals are saying about your child.  You know now that ignorance is NOT bliss! As a parent, you must learn these words and terms in order to use them so you will know what education and medical professionals are trying to tell you and so these professionals will know what you want to say to them.

This is where the Internet becomes incredibly useful.  Parents can go online and do research about their child’s disability in the fields of medicine and education and learn a large part of the vocabulary the professionals will be using.  Other parents you meet at school and in support groups will share what they know with you, so ask them what some of these words and terms mean.  The words we don’t understand in a meeting can be explained if we ask, “I’m sorry, you just used a word that went over my head.  What does XXX mean?”  The more often you ask this in a meeting, the more it signals the professionals that you intend to understand what is going on as well as they do.  This is exactly what parents need to do and exactly what most parents don’t do because they are embarrassed.

However, if you do ask, there will be a day when you no longer have to ask and you will be talking with these professionals as a member of a team where all parties are informed and therefore are capable of making real progress in helping your child become a more independent, more functional adult.  On that day, give yourself ten gold stars for doing a great job of being a GREAT parent!


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