When my mother came to babysit on Saturday afternoon I was still upset; I seriously considered going off to Starbucks or Wawa for a cup of coffee and a muffin or something sweet then going for a long drive in the country to cry out my frustration. Instead, I “put on my big girl panties” and went to the Y to squeeze in the workout I had missed in the morning. I felt better afterward; you’ve got to love the endorphin rush that comes from a good workout! As a result, I was able to deal with the childcare situation a bit more calmly.
I left a note for the Child Development Director —the person that oversees all the kid’s programs, the day care, the after school stuff, etc. It simply said “I have a child with special needs and I’d like to discuss one of the Kid Zone policies with you.” She called today and we had a good, calm, cordial, and productive conversation. I explained what had happened and made it clear that I knew the attendant didn’t know me or Nik and that I recognized I was too frustrated in the moment to try to deal with it. It old her that I appreciate that policies exist for a reason and that I wasn’t asking her to change the policy. Instead, I asked for her help in finding a solution that would both support Nik’s and my needs and honor the policy.
It was so simple. In five minutes we had a solution that works for everyone; she is going to leave written instructions for all her staff. The policy is for the protection of other children who have slipped out of the Kid Zone in the brief moment or two it takes for a parent to enter through the main door. I can appreciate this completely; I even told the Director that it sounds like something my kid would do! The solution is that there is a back door through another room which we can use as often as we need to until Nik gets used to the transition. To her credit, the Director never once made me feel like I was asking for something extraordinary or impossible. And, to my credit, I felt like I had taken a stand for my child without burning any bridges or becoming a negative force.
There is a phrase which is used so often in talking about IEP’s and disability rights —Presume Competence. I think the world would be a great deal easier to navigate if we did the same for others we deal with. Presume competence, presume that others want to help or do the right thing. Find ways to work together to arrive at a solution.