Write Everything Down
“Write everything down,” my adult daughter said.
I stared at her, equally amazed by her wisdom and my epic fail to practice what I’ve been preaching for more than a decade. When I spoke at special needs and disability conferences–pre-pandemic of course–parents would ask how to be effective advocates for their kids. My top 3 tidbits of advice were always:
- Let people in.
- Don’t take no for an answer.
- Write everything down.
How had I forgotten my own best advice this spring while advocating on my mother’s behalf? I’m blaming my oversight partly on the pandemic (it’s about time it was good for something), and partly on my inability to see that effective special needs advocacy practices are equally effective while advocating for the elderly.
I tore myself away from staring in amazement at my daughter–when did she become so wise?– and went into my office where I began to write everything down as she had advised. That was about 2 weeks after Mom’s health issues began, and the timeline of events was still clear in my mind. At the time this post was written, the timeline had stretched to 4 weeks and counting. If my daughter hadn’t said to write everything down when she did, the increasing number of events would have become muddled and my recording of them inaccurate. Not good.
Because effective special needs advocacy practices can be applied effectively during elder care advocacy, and vice versa, let’s see how the other two tidbits of advice can work for both populations.
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Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream series for parents of kids with special needs. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. She’s also the creator and host of the Different Dream website. Sharing Love Abundantly With Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and at Amazon.
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