Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Collaboration - The Key to Helping Your Child

During a recent trip to an amusement park with my family, we were entertained while waiting in line by a video game. This activity involved getting those in line to steer a bird around obstacles by leaning left, right, or backwards. There were three groups competing, and success depended on the willingness of complete strangers to work together.

I did briefly wonder if this was some sort of social experiment, but was soon lost in the fun as we leaned, laughed, and ultimately won the race.

I have to admit I was surprised that so many people were willing to cooperate at the drop of a hat. And I began to consider how this related to the families of those with disabilities.

The answer is pretty simple. We need to learn to work with others, even complete strangers, to help our family members live the best life possible.

How does this work? Consider the following scenarios:

Someone misconstrues your child's disability-based actions. Remember that they have little to no comprehension of your situation and need education. Simply reply that your child has a disability and this particular situation is a special challenge. This gives you a chance to improve understanding in a way that doesn't put people off from your message.

You are trying to get additional evaluations or services. Begin in a collaborative manner, and remember that the people you speak to are employees who have directives. If you listen to their responses and seek understanding, you will get farther than if you scream, which will get you labeled as a "problem parent".

You object to something someone has written (possibly even this post). Take time to read the entire article and then respond without name-calling or insults. This is a good way to get your voice heard.

How do you best collaborate with others?