Advocacy Trauma and Parenting

Trauma. Where do I even begin to explain this. The trauma that I have experienced as a parent advocating for a child with invisible disabilities. The trauma when you realise that it is the very system that is meant to help you, and your child, that triggers your traumatic experiences.

I never thought of what I have been through as traumatic. Not until I had another experience with a system of government support, that once again proved its inefficiency. Being asked questions that are irrelevant to your child’s diagnoses because the system is designed in such a way that the frame of reference for those at the forefront of service delivery is that of severe physical or obvious psychological or mental disability.

The system is not designed for persons with disabilities that are neurodevelopmental, or sensory. These are special needs that is not visible to the naked eye, and when you as a parent is faced with having to access support services then you constantly feel as if you are entering a world where your child’s needs are not recognised because his challenges cannot be seen with the naked eye.


The result of constantly feeling like you are walking through an open door, only to walk into a brick wall where a passage of access to services and support should be. A wall that leaves you broken in places you did not even realise were there. A brokenness that can have you falling apart at the mere thought of having to enter battle again. Fighting for the removal of barriers that should not be there in the first place.

I have great empathy for the many parents who find themselves on this journey – vulnerable and tired.

You may also want to read, The Illussion of Inclusive Education, for  context.

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