Future Reflections Fall 1991

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MYTHS AND REALITIES ABOUT PARENTS

Editor's Note: I came across this gem when I participated in a NFB seminar for parents of blind children in Pennsylvania. One of the speakers had it available as a handout. According to the copy I picked up, it was reprinted from The Speaker, newsletter of Sequin Retarded Citizens Association.

Myths about participation of parents of persons with developmental disabilities in the decision-making process:

* Myth: Parents are too emotional.

* Reality: Because of their life experiences, those parents who choose to participate in the decision-making process are almost always realistic and knowledgeable.

* Myth: Parents are too closely involved.

*Reality: It is precisely because parents are so involved that they can be effective in the decision-making process. They learn the system out of necessity and so can help shape policy and services from a 24-hour practical needs assessment.

* Myth: Parents always want more.

* Reality: Parents want some control over the lives of their children who are disabled. They only want for their children what the law says they are entitled to have.

* Myth: Parents have no understanding or appreciation of funding problems.

* Reality: Parents are taxpayers as well and as such do not want to increase spending unnecessarily or irresponsibly. Frequently they are more sensitive to unneeded expenditures for low priority programs.

* Myth: Parents are troublemakers.

* Reality: Taking part in decisions that affect the lives of family members is being responsible, not trouble-making.

* Myth: Parents expect too much.

* Reality: Parents are acutely aware that good programs and an array of services can maximize their children's potential. Approaching that goal for people with special needs is cost-effective since the more independent they [the children] can become, the less service will be needed.

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