Thank you, Kellyanne Conway, for coining the term alternative facts.
It quickly made Wikipedia and now is part of pop culture. Best of all, it’s not just for Washington insiders like you or any elected officials, regardless of their party affiliation.
Fact is, alternative facts is the perfect name for one of my biggest frustrations in life.
You see, I’m a parent of six children with special needs. I’ve dealt with hundreds of education, mental health, juvenile justice and child welfare professionals over the past two decades. And I’ve more than likely attended a thousand meetings and appointments.
Moreover, I’m not a person looking for personal gain. I’m simply a parent who wants fairness in meeting my children’s needs.
I’m a parent wanting fairness in meeting my children’s needs.
Until now I haven’t been able to find the right word to describe the way in which some of those professionals tried to discredit the truth. Even though I showed commitment. Even though I asked straight-forward questions. Even though I demanded honest answers. Not rhetoric or excuses.
Alternatives facts hits the nail of the head!
Like many parents I can become emotional when advocating for my kids, especially when transparent describes the conference room window – but not the actions of those in authority.
On many a sleepless night, I lay awake – trying to select the right word to define my situation and the related feelings.
Marginalization was too complex, malarky too snide. Arrogance seemed too abrupt and indifference too divisive. Although bulls..t seemed rather appropriate, I refuse to mimic the behavior of those around me.
Now I have alternative facts at my disposal. Those two words can roll off my tongue without any hint of malice. A perfect play of reverse psychology.
I have alternative facts at my disposal.
Whether or not professionals want to be totally honest, alternative facts are alive and well in communities throughout the country. Somewhere in this great nation every minute, a parent is bombarded with them.
The time has come for parents to respond – while maintaining diplomacy and courtesy.
I appreciate your alternative facts about my son, but please explain his repeated inability to meet the goals in his Individual Education Program (IEP) – along with the lack of academic progress.
I appreciate your alternative facts about my daughter, but please explain the reasons for therapeutic interventions and psychotropic medications not helping her regulate behavior.
I appreciate your alternative facts about my children, but please explain the sequence of events that happened to them in their birth family and during multiple foster care placements, prior to arriving at my home for adoption.
Maybe, just maybe, we can spur more honest dialogue. And by doing so, we can work across the table – while legislators work across the aisle – to help innocent children in need.
There’s no alternative to that! DCP
Craig Peterson publishes EACH Child every Tuesday. To subscribe, open this link and “Like” the page. EACH Child is Special: Working Smarter Not Harder to Raise Every ONE
To follow Craig’s journey in raising his six children with special needs, click here: Adopting Faith: A Father’s Unconditional Love
To follow my son Andrew’s inspiring story, “Like” his special Facebook page Andrew Peterson Goes for the Gold