Audio 4.3: Samtra Devard

Samtra, the mother of three children, including one who has a disability, talks about the need for families to be heard and for professionals to ask about parents’ hopes for their children (running time: 1 min., 53 sec.).


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I spent probably the first 3 years looking for permission to have hope for my daughter’s future. And that just may sound maybe difficult for some to hear, but it was always looking for those who would partner with us, who not necessarily needed to see what we saw, but definitely supported us, and us being my husband and I, supported us being able to pursue those things that maximize my child’s possibilities.

One of the things that I know families often needed an opportunity to be heard. Sometimes just asking a family what are their hopes for their child. That is an inviting question. Sometimes families, when they are sitting in IEP meetings or IFSP meetings or any type of an encounter with a professional, it’s always about what is the services that this child needs, what friends do you see, and those are all great things those are essential things, but asking a family, “What are your hopes for your child?” that’s the way to, I think, engage that dialogue. It signals that family that you recognize and acknowledge that their child has possibilities, but then it also elevates their role in coming to the table with an opinion and a conversation with some things to add that they are regarded as essential to the work that’s ahead.