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Top 10 Signs of Special Ed Advocate Burn Out

04/22/10
by Wrightslaw

Check out these top 10 signs you might be suffering from “special ed advocate burn out” – submitted by one of our favorite Texas advocates.

10. You think of the peaceful park you like as a great place to have an IEP meeting.

9. You realize at the IEP meeting, the  psychotic special ed director, who is picking invisible flowers out of mid air, is probably having more fun in life than you are.

8. A grateful client, who thinks you walk on water, brings you a small gift. You end up having to debrief with a fellow advocate if this is based on scientific, peer reviewed research.

7. You are watching a re-run of the “Wizard of Oz.” You start to categorize the types of delusions that Dorothy is having and begin to do an FBA.

6. A fellow advocate comes to you with severe relationship troubles, and you start trying to remember which cognitive behavioral technique has the most empirical validity for treating this problem.

5. You realize you actually have no friends, they have all become just one big IEP caseload.

4. A fellow advocate  asks how you are doing and you reply that you are a bit “internally preoccupied,”  receiving more than a minimal educational benefit, have preferential seating, and are not able to interact with peers today.

3. A fellow advocate asks you to have lunch  and you tell them that it is not measurable and would be “counter therapeutic to your current goals” to do that.

2. You tell a special ed director at an IEP meeting, consensus has not been reached  because the coffee was decaf.

And, the #1 reason you may be burning out….(drum roll)

1. You are packing for a trip to a large family reunion and you take your  Wrightslaw books with you “just in case!”

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10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Morning 12/23/11 at 12:31 am

    I love this..also food to note for parents is that there is a time,for some parents, to let go of their advocates. The greatest gift an advocate can give to a parent is to know when to step out of the picture. Encourage the parent to participate in trainings, etc.to learn about special Ed. My advocate worked herself out of her job as I became more Knowlegeqble and could not afford the cost. Yet, from day one– I emulated my advocate and we t front e student to the expert. For some, not all advocates, there is a time to phase out.

  • 2 david 12/20/11 at 6:34 pm

    It is sad, but true. I don’t go anywhere without my wrightslaw books, not even on vacation.

  • 3 Jennifer 12/27/10 at 11:44 pm

    I love this. I laughed and and agreed at the same time. We have so many things not to laugh about. It’s wonderful finding humor where you can. I will share this at our next set of workshops.

  • 4 leslie 12/23/10 at 8:07 am

    Quite the giggle when I realized that my Wrightslaw book is coming with me on our overnight trip for Christmas.
    Wrightslaw THANK YOU!!

  • 5 Gayle 12/21/10 at 11:11 pm

    I always take three things to an IEP meeting as an Advocate.

    1. My lucky magic eight ball that I can shake and probably come up with the same answers the district gives.

    2. Mini-fire extinguisher, just in case I smell pants on fire

    and the most important of all……

    3. A bottle of Resolve, because it’s more than likely the only Resolve that I get to walk out with!

    Loving the humor guys…keep it up…we need it!

  • 6 Mary Beth 12/21/10 at 9:24 am

    GREAT! This should be sent out weekly…. we all suffer from burnout almost every day…

  • 7 David1 04/25/10 at 12:25 pm

    I love these!

    At some point, we begin to think like the Special Ed Director.

    For example: The author of this list did not provide Prior Written Notice, therefore we are not required by the IDEA to entertain reading the list or consider implementation of such list.

    Since this is the first time seeing the list, I will need to defer this to our attorney who will make more reading the list than all of you child’s teachers combined.

    If your child were more motivated, we could use our legal budget to provide meaningful instruction instead.

    Are you open to some parental training classes that will allow you to interpret this list in a way that is consistent with our views?

  • 8 Mike 04/23/10 at 1:33 pm

    Great list, perhaps my mind is lost in special education as I felt preferential seating should be clarified in number 4!

  • 9 jamie 04/22/10 at 6:11 pm

    This is great! I had a good laugh! Thank you. Even if you are just your own child’s advocate you can relate!

  • 10 Nicoletta 04/22/10 at 2:40 pm

    So true! Special ed advocacy burnout is definitely happening to me.