I am writing to you as your child's speech pathologist. I only get to sit and talk with you at length once a year during the annual IEP meeting because you are a very busy person. You have seen me a handful of times in your life. I don't really feel like you know me, know my heart and dedication although I try to show you each time I visit with you. I see your child every day. I try to show your child my heart, dedication and love everyday whether they come to speech or not that day. I show all of my students that same love.
I am the person you yelled at today. Me, Amy Minor. You kept calling me the speech teacher, but I am a person with a name. The words you say to me hurt sometimes. My job title is a speech pathologist, but my job is to help your child be as successful as possible inside and outside the speech room. I remind myself daily how important my job is before I walk into these school doors. You talk to me as if I am trying to decrease services "just because I want to". You told me I am not doing what is in the best interest for your child. Instead of yelling at me, I gladly would have listened to your input and concerns. I am very open to what you have to say. You brought your threats to the meeting about a lawyer and yes you scared me. Did you realize that? I may have continued to act professionally in that moment because thats the kind of person I am; but as a person who makes significantly less money than you, I was scared. You told me I don't care about your child and questioned my intentions all while I was sitting in a meeting after school hours (hours that I am not paid for) listening to you criticize my skills as a speech pathologist. Skills that I acquired after 6 years of college-a bachelors degree, a minor in psychology and a masters degree. Skills that I continue to pay for through student loans and yearly continuing education hours. Skills that I have acquired through experience. This is what I want you to take away from this letter, parent.
I am a speech pathologist. I am a person, a wife and now have a child of my own. I LOVE my job. I love my job so much that I get to school early in the morning. Yes I am one of the first people through these doors every morning. Many times it is to prepare for the upcoming speech sessions that day. Your child was the most difficult child I have ever encountered in my speech career, but that made me want to work even harder. I have researched behavioral techniques. I have bought special materials to help your child accomplish the goals we have set this year and took time out of my day at home to even make materials specifically for your child. I love my job so much that I will drop my child off at child care this next school year. Yes I will drop my child off at child care in order to come help children like yours here at school. Do you realize that I do that? Do you realize that I was so eager to help your child succeed that I used to lie awake at night trying to think of a new way to tackle a goal in order for your child to succeed? There are minutes on IEP paperwork and I saw your child for those minutes every single week. I am so dedicated to your child and all my students that I made up sessions even though I didn't have to. I spent countless more minutes talking to teachers, administrators, making activities, buying activities and setting up a successful environment for your child. I sent home homework and activities over break for you to work on with your child. I spend a lot of my own money each year to provide the newest of materials for your child and the rest of the students on my caseload. I worked extra jobs so I could do that which was more time away from my family.
At the end of the school year, your child who was moving on to a new school gave me a HUGE hug, a kiss on the cheek and said "bye minor". This brought me to tears because when I first met your child, there was no production of the sound /b/. Your child went from throwing tantrums because your child had no other way to communicate to three years later being able to tell me "bye minor" using words. So, when you told me that i don't care about your child. It struck my heart. Please know this parent. I do know your child. Unlike you, your child knows my heart. I would only recommend for your child what I would recommend for my own. A lot of my recommendations came from hours of contemplation over your child's best interest for the remainder of this school year and the for the transition to a new school. I gave up a lot to be able to help your child every day and I make that choice everyday and will continue to make that choice when the new school year begins next year for my new students that I will receive. I love all my students. I love your child. Please keep these things in mind when you want to yell at someone who works with your child.