Looking for Solutions.....

Every once in a while I have an "eureka!!!!!!"... when something triggers a deeper understanding and brings things into focus, providing clarity and insight!! Recently, a Mom in Ottawa provided such a moment for me.

As parents or educators of exceptional kids, we all know that " sometimes it just seems to work..." and "sometimes it is like pulling teeth..." when we are seeking services for our children. Sometimes there is the right mix of people, sometimes not..... We often talk about having 'the right people' at the meeting, but who are 'the right people'? Some very empathetic people make a difference, others do not! Some senior administrators use their positions to help, while others seem to be " the problem!!" Some people with special qualifications add value to meetings, while others are "puffed up" with their own agendas...... Who are the Right People"???? Thanks to an Ottawa "Mom", I have a yardstick to help me decide....

In a recent presentation on special education funding and IPRC's an experienced educator interrupted my presentation with a series of somewhat defensive comments ...


Out of the corner of my eye I could see a "Mom" rolling her eyes, and becoming more and more frustrated. I patiently attempted to answer each of the educator's comments with examples of good work being done in real classrooms. Finally, when the educator attempted to offer yet another defensive remark, the hall was startled by a loud "EXCUSE ME!!!!!" "Mom" was on her feet! Here is what she said:

" I can divide ALL the educators that I deal with regarding my very multiply-challenged child into TWO GROUPS.... those who put their time, energy and resources into finding EXCUSES, and those who put their time, energy and resources into finding SOLUTIONS. Unfortunately, I am encountering too many of the former, and too few of the latter."

In times of amalgamated school boards, changing education funding,, an aging, embattled and tired workforce and extensive education reform, we (and our children) are in need of people looking for SOLUTIONS. Parents and educators need to be partners in identifying needs and finding new and innovative ways of meeting those needs. Too much energy is going into "blaming" and "excuse making".... I truly believe that SOLUTIONS can be found for the most complex educational problem. When people are committed to finding a SOLUTION, then one will be found.

In several contentious IPRC's this past Spring, I found myself looking for people who wanted to find a solution, people who were willing to be creative, innovative and "think outside the box". I started to sort the meeting participants, educator and non-educator alike. using "Mom's criteria." By focusing on, and interacting with, those people who were "looking for SOLUTIONS" we were able to resolve some very difficult support and service situations. Thanks, "Mom"!!!!

Lindsay Moir is a Consultant with Comhnadh Consulting in London, Ontario. His services are described on his web-site: www3.sympatico.ca/l.moir and he can be reached at (519)660-0493 or l.moir@sympatico.ca

Return to Comhnadh's Comments