YOU Are Your Best Advocate!

are-you-listening    You keep experiencing those health symptoms but your doctor isn’t listening to you.  You know your child is struggling in school but her teachers do not feel there is an issue.  What do you do?

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 images    One thing I have learned since fighting cancer is to be an advocate for myself and my family.  They may have a PHD and know a lot about their field but they don’t know every little thing about you or your family member.  And sometimes it is the bureaucratic system that is actually preventing a proper diagnosis. Insurance often plays a large part in how aggressive your doctor may be.  If you know deep down there is more going on, do your homework.

  • Check various sites on the internet or go to the library.  Take notes.  Become an expert.  Know the language.
  • Insist on tests “just for your own peace of mind”.
  • Get a second opinion.  A second opinion saved me.
  • Have the physicians explain things in layman’s terms.  If you don’t understand something, ask them to reword it.
  • Ask questions!  Take a notebook with your questions and a pen to write the answers.
  • If it is a school issue, ask for an interview with your child’s teacher, principal and guidance counselor.  Ask for an IEP.
  • Join a Facebook group regarding this issue to find out how others are dealing with it.
  • Keep “complaining”.  An aching back often has to be complained about so many times before they will look into it and then they will usually prescribe physical therapy first because that is what the insurance company mandates.
  • In some cases, you will get nowhere until you find someone who has experienced the same issue.  My daughter’s dyslexia was ignored until her second grade teacher saw her and recognized the signs.  Why? Because the teacher was also dyslexic.  Not only that but the teacher had access to free tutors the school did not know about.  The original issue was that because the school acknowledged an issue after this teacher arranged an IEP, they were legally not permitted to acknowledge dyslexia.  The school did go a long way though to also help my daughter at school.
  • While you may not agree with them, be respectful but firm.

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 I kept telling my son’s  teachers he was having issues with colors and my daughter’s teachers that she was not reading.  She actually memorized books to pretend she was reading when she could not.  The teachers thought she was reading but I knew she was just saying the words she had memorized.

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