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The Value of Engaging Parents as Partners in School-Based SLP Programs

presented by Jean Blosser, EdD, CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial— Jean Blosser receives compensation from MedBridge for the production of this course. She also receives royalties from Plural Publishing, Inc. and Blosser Collaboration Tools, Inc. and is also president and education consultant of Creative Strategies for Special Education. Nonfinancial— No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Parents bear responsibility for making decisions about all aspects of their child's life. SLPs, educators, and health care professionals can increase a child's potential for success by engaging their parents to prepare them for their critical roles in their child's health care, education, and therapy intervention. Unfortunately, many professionals are reluctant to work with parents, and parents often express concerns as well. This course describes the challenges and benefits of working with parents and other caregivers. It prepares professionals to establish meaningful relationships with parents. We can employ a mentoring model to help parents better understand their child and to play a key role in their child's success. SLPs and other therapists, educators, and health care providers will be motivated to take a fresh approach to establishing meaningful partnerships with parents. Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to reflect on your program and take steps to make changes that will yield great results.

Meet Your Instructor

Jean Blosser, EdD, CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow

Jean Blosser is passionate about creating systems that ensure school SLPs and educators can provide outcomes-based, educationally relevant services. To Jean, interprofessional collaboration is essential! As President of Creative Strategies for Special Education, she consults and provides workshops for schools, universities, businesses, and professional associations. Jean has published numerous resources for SLPs, educators, administrators, and…

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1. Parents As Partners: It’s Worth the Effort

Parents are the constant in a child’s life. They can greatly influence their child’s growth and development. The decisions they make greatly impact their child’s life and education. Professionals are transitory, making contributions along the way. We can increase a child’s potential for success by engaging their parents and preparing them to play a critical role in their child’s education, health care, and therapy intervention. School, therapy, and health issues can be frightening experiences to parents. Providing information, facts, and resources will equip them so that they can support their child’s growth and development. Professionals can lay the foundation for understanding by providing parents with information about the nature and causes of disabilities, the impact on communication and learning, and treatment options. This chapter will sensitize practitioners to parents’ perspectives and challenges. It will provide a rationale for engaging parents and give examples of benefits of engaging parents.

2. Collaboration Is Essential: Building Partnerships

Creating effective collaborative partnerships represents a philosophical approach of providing high-quality education and intervention services to ensure that professionals partner with each other as well as family members to develop plans and strategies for helping children with disabilities. Successful collaboration starts by recognizing that parents are eager to help their children succeed. They want to know what is going on in therapy and school and how they can help. The tone we set at meetings and the methods we use to communicate important messages can shape parents’ attitudes, responses, and engagement. If everything goes well, the team and parents feel that they are partnering on decisions. If things don’t go so well, an adversarial relationship may evolve.

3. What Prevents Successful Engagement?

Parents and professionals can have the best of intentions when it comes to engagement. Unfortunately, there are many barriers that interfere. This section will briefly explore some of the typical barriers. It will explain how the recommended strategies will help alleviate many of the barriers. This segment provides valuable insights to help participants understand common challenges to successful engagement and suggest positive actions they can take.

4. Invite Parents to the Table

The best way to get parent engagement and collaboration going is to create a friendly, receptive environment that welcomes questions and open discussion. Parents know their children. Solid partnerships can be created by discussing important topics related to the child’s disability and needs and responding to questions and concerns with compassion as well as facts and information. Spend time getting on the same page with one another.

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