Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Ever felt intimidated by an expert? Whether you're getting an assessment for yourself or your child keep in mind that you are the expert about yourself and your child. Often when I'm doing an assessment a parent will say they're not the expert, they don't have a psychology degree or are not a paediatrician. While that might be true, I encourage you to hold your ground as the expert and take up your power. Try these ideas:
See yourself as the expert.
Become the team leader.
Remember who you are and recount past victories.
Expect to be treated with respect and dignity. Nothing less will do.
You have nothing to feel ashamed about.
Questions to help you reflect and do it.
See Yourself As The Team Leader
I discovered that once I saw myself as the Team Leader, and these various 'experts' were on my team, I was in charge, and I decided how I was going to be treated! I didn't start out that way, and I haven't always had a master's degree.
I was a stay at home mum for many years home schooling and caring for our son. I remember what it felt like being treated like an idiot. I was also a young mother in my early 20's - so obviously I was an idiot who didn't know about birth control to have 3 kids before I was 26. I was seen as a loser.
I remember feeling ashamed and stupid even though I had nothing to be ashamed of and I knew I wasn't stupid - I sure felt like it. I would attend appointments with my tail between my legs, looking and feeling like a whipped dog! It was awful. I felt ashamed because I didn't know what to do as a parent with our non-typical child.
2. Recount Past Victories and Remember Who You Are
You can't beat Mufasa and Rafiki with explaining this concept.
"You must take your place in the circle of life."
I remember my turning point vividly still even though it was almost 30 years ago. I came home from dropping the kids at school (before home schooling).
I went for a shower and a good hard ugly cry. The despair I felt was overwhelming. I remember crying out to God and saying 'Why did you give him to me. I don't know what to do with him. Why didn't you give him to a psychologist - they would surely know what to do, and do it better than me.' I now know that's not true.
After I calmed down, the Lord reminded me that I wasn't an idiot. I went and got out my old school reports and reminded myself I was smart enough to do this. Then God chastised me and reminded me, "You have everything you need to raise that boy. Get on with it!" That was my breakthrough moment! My spine straightened, I put my shoulders back, lifted my head up and stood tall. I've been up for a fight many times since then to advocate and demand fairness. Just don't set me off by telling me what can't be done!
3. Expect to Be Treated With Respect & Dignity. Nothing Less Will Do!
Not long after my epiphany I called up the community health so often, they knew my voice and began to say, "Hello Mrs Smalley. How can we help you today." The only thing that changed was me! We can grow into being advocates for our kids and ourselves.
4. You Have Nothing To Feel Ashamed About
So what if you don't have a degree in Psychology or anything else. It doesn't matter and it doesn't make you less precious or valuable as a person or a parent. You might not be an expert on all aspects of childhood development (neither am I) BUT you are the only expert on yourself and one of a few experts if you're lucky to other adults in your child's life, on your child. That intel is vital and valuable and you're the holder of that.
Maybe you've felt embarrassed from early on. You're baby wouldn't stop crying, sleep through the night, breast feed, feed at all, eat good things, toilet train, speak, do what they're told ever, hit other kids at play group, wacked them with shovels in the sandpit or threw sand on other kids etc etc .... You may already be a bit battered and bruised or maybe a lot. Other people's perception of you doesn't matter. They don't know what you're going through or that you're working so much harder than many other parents. Your child is not spoiled because they have more needs than other kids and you try to meet them. That's you be a fantastic parent! Other people don't have to understand or like it. You know what you're doing.
5. Questions to help you.
If you're a parent you're already a team leader. Transfer those skills to dealing with experts.
If you're not a parent, think of a time when you successfully took charge - even if it was your dog! I'm still working on that one myself.
Remember who you are. It's easy to become consumed and lose your identity. What are your hopes and dreams. Hold onto them. It may take you longer to achieve them, but don't let them die. Maybe you will need to dream new dreams. I know I did.
Check out this poem - Welcome to Holland. It may help you dream new dreams.
You have nothing to be ashamed about. You may have felt shamed as a parent. Refute and refuse that idea.
Stand up straight, lift your head, walk tall. You can fake it util you make it. Write notes of your questions if that helps. It's easy to forget what you want to say when you feel anxious.
I highly recommend the superman pose. Check out this video by Amy Cuddy.
If you're looking for an assessment for autism or ADHD or both, I hope you will find it a warm, supportive and validating experience if you choose me to do it.