When children have a chronic health condition, a developmental disability or a combination of challenges, parents learn their vulnerabilities and support needs through daily experience. Over time, we develop what seems like intuition to predict what their needs will be in new or changing situations. Sometimes we guess wrong. Often, we are absolutely right.
Parents often entrust medical and education professionals, family and friends to make decisions that affect our children while they are not under our supervision. We are often surprised when they guess wrong.
It is often assumed that medical and education professionals base their ideas on our children's needs and support on education, experience and expertise. Parents' observations and suggestions are often attributed to intuition rather than insight, and to feelings rather than deep and intimate knowledge of the child.
Parents often report that when a certain education, behavior management or medical support plan based on their own son or daughter's needs was implemented, that plan worked well for the child as long as it was followed. But just as adults in charge trust their intuition rather than practical observation when things are not working, it's easy to believe that a few small improvements in a program that works will make it even better - even when there is evidence that suggests the opposite result.
It can be difficult as a parent to predict when simple staff or program changes will throw a child off balance, and very easy to feel regret in hindsight. When you discuss your son or daughter's medical condition, create new education or therapy goals, or plan a new IEP, remember that you are more likely to be basing your suggestions and observations on experience rather than intuition. You know your child better than anyone else in the world. Listening to your inner voice means that your mind is telling you something that your heart validates.
Intuition and Program Planning for Children with Disabilities
Intuition and Practical Matters