What can I say?

There are times when it can feel like you just don’t know what to say, so it can be helpful to have some rehearsed phrases or questions that you might use in meetings, such as with the NDIS, preschool and school.

  • “I am looking forward to my child attending for the same hours as other children.”
  • “Can I tell you what works for us at home?” 
  • “How will we introduce the other families and children to my child?”
  • “How will the additional educator or extra person be used in the room?”
  • “Will my child be doing everything that the other children do?” 
  • “What alternatives do you suggest?”
  • “Ok, so if what I am suggesting won’t work here, have you got another idea to try?”
  • “How will that actually look in the classroom or playground and how will we know this plan is working?”

Sometimes, meetings can be overwhelming so you might find it useful to rehearse some questions, sentence starters and statements that you want to say.

  • “May I see a copy of the written policy that you told me about?”
  • “Thank you for meeting today.”
  • “I have been thinking about goals for my child, and I am happy to have this opportunity to work with you.”
  • “Would it be helpful if I tell you what has been working so far?”
  • “Who is going to take notes from the meeting?”
  • “What is the timeline? When will we meet again?”
  • “Can we try something different?”
  • “I appreciate when you get in touch and ask about my child. Your interest means a lot to me.”
  • “How can we work together to make this happen?”
  • “Could you please explain that? I am unclear about what is involved.”
  • “I may be misunderstanding…”
  • “I was wondering about…”
  • “I don’t feel comfortable with that suggestion. I wonder what other solutions we could come up with?”
  • “I’ve noticed that…”
  • “Are there some other resources we can use to help?”

Another part of advocacy can mean speaking up for your child with strangers in the community who ask awkward questions. Sometimes rehearsing a short answer to use can be helpful.

Here are some examples and suggested responses that parents have found helpful:

Question: “I saw a child on TV with Autism, who was amazing at maths. Is he like that?”
Response: “No. He has Autism and just like everyone else, people with Autism are good at some things and not so good at other things.”

Question: “Why can’t your child do this or that?”
Response: “Sam can take a long time to learn new things. He is still learning how to do that.”

Question: “Why does your child need to wear that?” (Example: hearing aid)
Response: “That is a hearing aid and it helps with hearing sounds.”

Question: “Why isn’t your child answering?”
Response: “You may need to wait. It takes time for my child to get the words out.”

Question: “Why does she look like that?”
Response: “We all look different from each other. For example, you and I have different coloured hair.”

Question: “Why is your child doing that?”
Response: “By doing that, he is showing me how he feels.”

Question “Why can’t he or she talk?”
Response: “My child doesn’t use the same words as us, but he or she can talk with signs. Clever isn’t it?”

Question: “I think you are amazing! How do you do it?”
Response: “I don’t know how I do it. Sometimes it’s really hard.”

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