Professional Bullying Is Not Okay

by Aug 12, 2021Advocacy0 comments

To be effective advocates for our kids with disabilities and special needs, sometimes we must recognize and stand up to professional bullying.

Professional bullying is not okay. Guest blogger Trish Shaeffer has come to recognize this tactic–not from every care professional who works with her son, of course–and to advocate on his behalf. Today she encourages you to do the same.

Professional bullying is not okay. I’m not talking about semi-professional, resident, schoolyard bullies. I’m talking about the bullying by care professionals. From teachers, doctors, surgeons, therapists, nurses, principles, and others. 

I’m sure at one time on another we have felt bullied to make a decision for our kids with special needs. To feel pushed in one direction or another. Being beaten over the head by their opinion or advice. Over and over again until our head spins. 

Then the parenting guilt kicks in with it. We start asking ourselves if we are doing the right thing? Maybe we were wrong? Maybe they know best? Maybe our gut or heart is wrong? We second guess ourselves.

I’ve been a victim of bullying and guilt in this way. It made me feel lower than low. It made me at one point feel like I was a bad parent. How could I know best when I’m being told the care I want for my son is not the best? 

We feel bullied into agreeing with their opinions because they are the professionals, right?

This is where we need to pause. 
Take a deep breath. Stand our ground. 
Follow our gut and our heart because professional bullying is not okay. 

It’s someone’s opinion. Their best guess. Nothing more. They don’t know your child like you do, so be firm.  Too many times I see this and dealt with it myself. Sometimes it ends up in more heartache than where you started. 

I wish it was different. I wish more professionals accepted a parents or guardians wishes and concerns. Yes, they went to college and became professionals. But a degree is not the be all and end all be. Who knows the patient or student best matters when discussing what a child’s care should look like. 

It took a few go arounds for me as a care giver to finally stand up, disagree with the professionals opinions, to say “No!” and not back down! I’m sure at this point I’m deemed to be a handful or a difficult parent by some professionals. I don’t care as much as I used to. 

Who else will look out for my son if I don’t?
Who else will be his cheerleader? 

The word “no” is powerful. 

It can inspire change.
And much more.

You have a voice. Your opinion matters. Remember that. I wish someone told me this a long time ago, which is why I’m sharing it now.

Saying “No!” is okay.
Use it whenever you feel you need to.
Stand up and speak and expect to be heard.
You have the power.

Professional bullying is not okay.

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By Trish Shaeffer

Trish Shaeffer is the mom of 3 active boys, 2 of whom have special needs. She’s a peer supporter for Parent to Parent and volunteers with the United Cerebral Palsy Network, Special Olympics, and the United Way. She’s also an equine volunteer at Leg Up Farm. She’s married to her best friend and biggest supporter, Chris Schaeffer.


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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.



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