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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jacqueline Cahalan

You Are Your Child’s Most Valuable Advocate

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

When your child is having a hard time or is struggling with a challenge (such as in school, relationships, or another in his or her life), a parent or other person close to the child may be the first to notice that something seems “off.” You know your child- his or her general preferences, behaviors, and ways of interacting with others and with the world.  And this attunement means that you may be able to identify shifts or changes in his or her well-being before anyone else does.  You are also more aware of what the unique values and priorities of your family are and when the expectations or demands of the outside world are inconsistent with these. 

Don’t be afraid to speak up or ask questions when you feel that your child has a problem or need that is not being met or if there are circumstances in his or her life that are just not working.  Often, partnering with a professional in these situations can often be very helpful. Someone with a specific area of expertise will have a rich working knowledge regarding the supports, research, and options you have towards helping address your child’s problem.   A professional can often help you identify where your concern lies within a broader range of development and what options you have towards addressing the problem. As a parent, you play an important role in these discussions because you have a unique understanding of your child and can often help gauge both what a reasonable expectation should be and also whether proposed options are likely to be effective for your child and compatible with your family structure. It is through this type of advocacy and collaboration that a plan of action can be developed to best support your child. And no one is in a better position to start this process than you.

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