“Reflect on the discussion about history, our foundational structures, the "red lining" of families of color out of opportunity for economic advancement, the connection between poverty, educational opportunity, and incarceration. Are you able to see those connections?”
This reflection hit me deeply because I work within a community where the local school districts are underfunded and my background in special education means that families are referred to me as a clinician because I can assist with the process of navigating how to procure testing, diagnoses, extra supports, and referrals to other community resources. Yet our underfunded districts continually misdiagnose the children of color I work with, frequently assume the worst of my Black parents, underutilize therapeutic supports and overutilize restraint procedures, and worse - blame the kids' behaviors for that last one. It is systemic and it has happened over and over again in my caseload. I warn parents away from certain psychological evaluators because I have seen patterns of them underdiagnosing girls (especially ASD/ADHD) and children of color across the past 6 years reading their assessments while working with the kids either daily or weekly. If it's exhausting for me - a professional - I tell my families all the time that I cannot imagine what it feels to live in their shoes as we go through the process together. I want us to be better.