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Dear Graduating Professional – By Wendy Eyrich

Dear Graduating Professional,

Congratulations on your choice to enter the exceptional education field. What an enormous responsibility you’ve taken upon yourself. My guess is that many of you have been impacted by disability in your life in some way, whether through a family member, friend, etc.

The following is some advice from me, a seasoned parent.

1) Remember that parents know their child best. Most of the time a parent is your best ally. Keep in mind that you’re a team and both have the child’s best interests at heart. Develop a good working relationship with parents when possible and life is easier for everyone.

2) Believe in these children. Often times when your expectations of them are high they’ll rise to the occasion.

3) Remember: If you’ve seen one child with a disability, you’ve seen one child with a disability. They are all unique and different. There’s a wide range of capability even among students with the same disability. Adapt to their individual needs.

4) Know that this won’t be easy. Sometimes when the meetings and the paperwork overwhelm you, you will be tempted to forget why you ever even entered this career field. While other teachers are playing with their kids on the playground sometimes you’ll be changing soiled underwear or consoling someone scared of a thunderstorm. Try to remember what motivates you in the beginning.

5) Take into consideration that behavior always means something. A child is never just naughty, but sometimes it’s a communication issue, a medication issue or even sensory issues. That’s just a few.

This will be one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do in your life. It will also be one of the most rewarding.

Sincerely,

Exceptional Education Parent

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