Strong partnerships with families contribute to positive and lasting change for families and children. This resource was created by the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. It is easy for parents to pick up on attitudes, whether positive or negative. Some adults have a difficult time accepting non-traditional families based on their personal experiences, and many families perceive this bias. Building Partnerships: A Guide to Developing Relationships with Families: Use this guide from the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement to increase your skills in partnering with families to support inclusion of children with special needs. The time spent reflecting on our work, alone or with others, helps us think about the way we respond to children and families and allows us to explore our feelings about those experiences. How are inclusive practices and procedures described in my program’s philosophy, policies, and information for families? Parlakian, R. (2001). Raikes, H., & Edwards, C. (2009). Have open and truthful conversations with staff about macroaggressions. The way family members view their child’s disability or other special need is also an important factor for child care providers when they are building relationships with families. How can I include families of infants and toddlers with disabilities in meaningful and authentic ways? A family’s beliefs, concerns, wants, and expectations must be part of the conversation when planning for how to include the child in the child care setting (Raikes & Edwards, 2009). Cross, A. F., Traub, E. K., Hutter-Pishgahi, L., & Shelton, G. (2004). Be respectful of their time. This sample is provided by Quality Rated, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. Ask families how they approach care routines with their infant or toddler (meals, sleeping, diapering, and so on) at home. The Family Partnerships Process: Engaging and Goal-Setting with Families: This document provides seven steps for setting and reaching goals with families to support their child’s development and learning. The process of reflecting on your work strengthens your confidence and ability to communicate and partner with families. Based on the article “Talking with Parents When Concerns Arise” by L. Brault & J. Gonzalez-Mena. Life Long friends: Families … Video Example: What Might Family Members Experience When They Learn Their Child Has a Special Need? Even though our society is more progressive than it used to be, there are still many biases toward families who don't fit the traditional model. As relationships between staff and families grow stronger, mutually respectful partnerships are built. Understanding that families are busy and frequently overwhelmed can help us think about how we can build stronger connections with families when they pick up or drop off a child at your program. Knowing that they have busy lives and schedules, make the event engaging and meaningful for them. For example, a family may give reasons for a child’s disability or special need, based on their own cultural and family experiences. You have to try many different things before you find what may work. Here are five quick techniques that help to build strong relationships in a fast-paced culture. 2020 The essentials: Supporting young children with disabilities in the classroom. It is easy for parents to pick up on attitudes, whether positive or negative. Talking to Families of Infants and Toddlers about Developmental Delays. ), Strengthening Partnerships to Support Babies with Special Needs. National Association for the Education of Young Children. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Frequently, the direct service workers at an afterschool program may be older teenagers or college students. This is true for all children and is particularly important when an infant or toddler has a disability or other special need (Brillante, 2017; Cross, Traub, Hutter-Pishgahi, & Shelton, 2004). Elements of successful inclusion for children with significant disabilities. What Do You Do When You Have Concerns about an Infant or Toddler in Your Care? Their perspective adds important information for teachers and other professionals to consider. Warmly welcome and orient all families when they enter your program, including those with disabilities or special needs. This may seem daunting at times due to the demands of the current American family lifestyle, which not only include significant job and school responsibilities, but also involve jam-packed extracurricular schedules for all household members. Parents and guardians have a special understanding of their children’s unique qualities and characteristics, such as temperament, strengths, and interests. Below are some important questions for you to ask yourself and your colleagues as you create an inclusive program that fosters genuine relationships with families. For example, “What are some ways we can help your baby feel more at home while here in our care?”. In considering this diversity, it is helpful to be aware of your own values and beliefs as you engage with children and families (Raikes & Edwards, 2009). Head Start and Early Head Start Relationship-based Competencies: This resource from the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement can help you assess your relationship-based competencies and improve your interactions with families to best meet their goals. Brillante, P. (2017). As professionals in the field of afterschool and expanded learning, it is important to remember that even though we may not see a child's family at school or a program, this does not mean they are not engaged in the lives of their children. We know as human service professionals that families come in many forms and styles. How do I communicate with families about children’s individual development, including strengths, interests, and progress? Join NAA for free and receive NAA's weekly eNewsletter for the most up-to-date tools, resources and news related to afterschool. (2010). You can use this 4-minute animation to explore how you can support and partner with families through the process of identifying special needs. (2007). Talking with Parents When You Have Concerns About a Child in Your Care, Building Partnerships: A Guide to Developing Relationships with Families, Head Start and Early Head Start Relationship-based Competencies, Family Engagement and Ongoing Child Assessment, The Family Partnerships Process: Engaging and Goal-Setting with Families. An introduction to young children with special needs: Birth through age eight (4th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing. They build on a shared commitment to the child’s well-being and success. How do I partner with early interventionists and families. Remind parents that you have an open door policy and that they are welcome. Here are some ways to strengthen your skills in connecting with families, learning about individual children, and partnering in their care: Of course, families are diverse, differing in their structures, cultures, values, relationships, concerns, priorities, resources, and interactions, and in other areas. With that in mind, we need to actively build strong engagement with families when they can come to the school or program. Family engagement has a life-long impact on the lives of children and comes in many forms. Start on time, end on time. Stay connected! Invite them to visit and share an interesting hobby, skill or activity with the students and other parents. What thoughts and feelings do I have when I work closely with a family, or when I consider having conversations with families about a potential developmental need or assessment? Use opportunities like drop-off and pick-up times to communicate informally with families and build rapport. To have trust though, you must build trust. It’s worth considering the ways your cultures, values, and beliefs might influence your interactions with children, particularly those with disabilities or other special needs. Family Engagement and Ongoing Child Assessment: Explore ways to share child assessment information with parents in this resource guide from the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. Washington, DC: Zero to Three. Here are three resources to help you talk with parents when concerns arise: Talking to Families of Infants and Toddlers about Developmental Delays. What responsive and respectful practices do I use with children with disabilities and their families? Here are five quick techniques that help to build strong relationships in a fast-paced culture. Successful relationships focus on families’ strengths. This can be a sensitive topic for everyone involved and therefore requires careful thought. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 24(3), 169–183.