The final lesson from the emperor—– Pay attention, believe your insight when (as we say in Texas) “somethin’ ain’t right”.

Care giving is like driving, it requires continual incremental adjustments according to road conditions.

You have a knowing.  You know your loved one.  You know yourself. You know that inner wisdom is screaming for your attention.  You need not apologize for loving someone and wanting the best for them.  It is not about right or wrong. 

Sometimes you will find yourself knowing something isn’t right and it’s hard to put into words.  Your child is not completing his college reading assignments.  You hired tutors and his testing over the years did not identify a reading disorder yet your visceral feeling lingers on. You have the tutors’ and examiners’ information.  Consider consulting different disciplines.  Who else could add additional insight from the data?  For example, a speech language pathologist experienced in identifying and remediating written language will interpret the data from a different perspective than the tutors and the neuropsychologists who tested him.

Every living being adapts and adjusts to the world around them every second of every day.  The nature of neurological differences makes the process of fine-tuning uniquely complex.  Multifaceted neurological differences are best cared for when allied professions collaborate.

Stay curious and be assertive.

Do you remember “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christen Anderson?  The story about an emperor and his subjects accepting the assurances of two “tailors”  that their products were so special that they were only visible to competent and intelligent people.  Upon seeing the empty hangars, everyone, including the emperor, silently questioned their capabilities and feared the consequences of voicing them.   The story ends with a child speaking the truth without hesitation freeing others to do the same.

If the emperor had been an astute consumer he would know which clothes he was wearing in the parade and who made them.  He would have done his homework: learned about tailors, what to expect when hiring a tailor, checked references and credentials of more than one tailor, sought the opinion and experience of other emperors before making a choice.  After hiring the tailors, the emperor’s job was to hold them accountable for their work.  Furthermore, the emperor would have trusted what he saw in the mirror and immediately fired the tailors.

How do families living with neurological differences make choices?  Parents and caregivers know that each professional they hire makes a difference for their loved one.  Like the emperor, it may be tempting to believe you found the answer.  Even so, do your homework. Confidently expressing concerns, questioning what you don’t understand, participating in the conversations is how to get the best care possible for your loved ones.  Competent professionals invite your continual collaboration and welcome your questions and concerns.  Be assertive.

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