- We're gonna talk about Families as Partners today and this potentially could be a hot topic as well, like the time out and sentry interventions because I'm sure if we went out in a room when I asked you, about stories of working with families, you would be able to tell me some doozies.
Things that have happened through you through the years, parents who you've worked with, families you've worked with where there's been challenges.
Those kind of stick out in your mind.
But today we're gonna really focus on being proactive and talking about how to reestablish, some of those relationships with parents.
So those of you who know me personally and have gotten to work with me professionally, know that, when things kind of go well or kind of awkward, or kind of… You know you finish a meeting and say, "That didn't go well." I usually think, "what could we do better? "What is the lesson for me?" I do this to my personal life, I do it in my professional life.
"What's the lesson here?" And sometimes you don't learn the lesson the first time, you have to learn it like five, six, 10, 20 times.
But I'm always looking for the lesson.
I'm always challenging the teams that I work with and the people I work with.
"What is the lesson here?" And so today what I'm going to share with you, is some of my lessons because I don't pretend or think I know everything.
I'm constantly learning, constantly making mistakes.
And I think that all those opportunities that we make mistakes, they are good opportunities for learning.
And… So I'm gonna share some strategies that I had to learn through lessons.
Often those big things like Rayanne talk this morning, there's an opportunity for something to happen and now she has this, great strategy to work with all students with.
And so, I'm hoping that will help you.
So over the next hour, we're gonna talk about families and school teams and behavioral strategies that you already know.
So because we know behavior, we have a very powerful tools to work with our school teams and also with their parents, not just with our learners And… The things that we're gonna be discussing today, aren't necessarily for you to learn.
You probably know everything that I'm gonna talk about today, but the intention is for you to think about, how you're gonna coach your teams, your school teams and the people that you work with.
How to build trusting and respectful relationships because really the learner is depending on us.
We're the only people that, that this… Our learners have.
So one thing that, earlier in my career I came upon, a poem written by a mom.
And it's really impacted how I have interacted with the parents that I've worked with.
In today's day and age, raising a family is a really brave endeavor.
It's very brave, many of you know, that you have children.
You decided to have… Have maybe one two and you have plans.
You have things that you have in your mind, milestones that you're going to hit.
And you had plans about what they're gonna do.
Maybe they'll be the next hockey star.
Maybe they'll go in drama like you wanted them to do or play piano.
You have plans for them.
And the poem, I happily hand over to Jenkins, she's gonna, oh it's a poem, read it nice and loud.
And it's called Welcome to Holland.
And it's written by a mom who has a special needs child.
So this story that's written by a mom, really impacted me when I read that because the parents that we, and the families that we meet, they're often still in the mourning stage or in the sadness stage or when they hit that milestone of maybe going from elementary to middle or going on to everyone else is graduating.
They're reminded that they're in Holland, they're not in Italy.
And we have to, I believe we have to have empathy for these families.
We have to show them respect.
They didn't sign up for this.
They, they… They're doing the best they can, they're sent there… I really feel strongly that our teams sometimes forget this, this fact that we get busy in our busy lives and we have families that come in and they're very stressed.
They have… They're thinking about this 24 seven.
We have them a portion of the day a portion of the year.
They're thinking life term.
And I think it's really important for us, to help our teams that we work with.
And this is just a nice story to remind, remind our teams and remind ourselves.
And I've shared that at many PDs and with many teams, just to bring that home.
And so, because they didn't sign up for this, we need to also remember that we are part of their Holland.
We are their Holland.
They didn't plan on hanging out with us.
They didn't plan on spending hours and meetings.
They didn't plan on having strangers in their house doing therapy.
They didn't plan on all those things.
They planned on other things.
So I think it's really important for our teams to, really feel that we have empathy for them.
Not sympathy, empathy that we know but also respect them because really they're doing the best they can.
And it's really important that we guide them with the best information that we have.
I recently listened to a CD on tape, about critical confrontations and it talked about how important it is for people to have trust and to feel respect and that all of us are respect detectors.
And if we detect that people don't respect us, it's very hard to build trust and relationships there.
So it's just really important that even though you may have, families who are very stressed.
And we know that when anxiety goes up, our behavior increases and all that kind of stuff.
You may have that coming.
You need to think.
What has their day been like? "What has their week been like?" This is day after day.
And so I think it's just really important to, come to those meetings and come to thinking about our families and have respect for them and an appreciation for their day-to-day life.
Now in terms of school teams, you know working with them and… I think school teams have a really big responsibility.
The difference between school teams and families is they have chosen this career.
So you and I in this room have chosen to work with learners who are struggling.
And even if some of the classroom teachers that you work with say, "I didn't plan on this," they work in Atlanta, Canada and Atlanta, Canada has inclusion.
And so ultimately they have chosen to work with students with special needs and with behavior challenges.
And so it's really important that school teams know, it's their responsibility to connect with families.
It's also really important that you're using and our school systems are using evidence-based practices and interventions and helping direct those.
And we talked a lot about that yesterday with Doctor Bailey.
It's important that our school teams are collecting data and using that data to make decisions, not just going on how we feel.
And also to share the progress and the challenges with the families.
The other thing is, I talked about it a little bit, is about guiding and supporting, the planning for the learner's future.
So not only when we're… If they're in elementary school, you need to think long term in helping that.
One thing that I have learned from experience and I don't have data on it but in the teams that I have worked with, where the family has at least trusted one person at the school to really… They feel like that person cares, feels like that person… They believe that they have the best intention that mistakes can happen, things can happen and the parents normally understand.
What I have learned as well, is that if the parents or the families don't trust anyone that nothing can be… There can be no mistakes made and there can still be a crisis.
So it's just really important that we really put an emphasis on helping our school teams, make connections with families and to build that trust and relationship with them.
One thing in my early resource career, when I was at a school I had… We ended a particularly challenging meeting with a family and the classroom teacher said, " Hoo it'll be so good when this year's over" because he was thinking I have them for one year and only have to go through these meetings.
I knew I was going to have the family for the next eight years.
And so, as a resource teacher and as a consultant and as… I'm not sure what the job titles are, you know that you're working for families for two, three, 12, 13, whatever years.
And so it's really important for you to have good relationships with the families, but also to help others and have those… 'Cause if they trust you, then you can kind of transfer, some of that trust to some of the school team and do some of that work there as well.
So I know, Doctor Bailey talked a little bit about, just saying no yesterday and listening to some peoples' hearthstones obviously, we can't say no because our students really need us and if we say no there's no one else.
And so I believe, and I'm sure you know that, it might be another urge to be calm and keep calm and be proactive.
So that's one thing… Rayanne's talked this morning about being proactive.
Her whole transition plan is about being proactive with, with your student but also with the staff but also it linked the parents and they got to see the presentation and help with that.
So being proactive.
And in my experience proactive is often easier and a lot less painful than reactive.
And so if we can put some thought into it or if you learned a lesson, how to put that into place.
The other thing is….
I'm going to talk today, a little bit more about things you already know.
Nothing is going to be a surprise.
And so you're going to be with your families and with your school teams, using the strategies that you are already using.
Maybe not with your adults, maybe with the adults now.
And because we know behavior principles and continue to see some behavior, we have this powerful tool.
We can use it for good and that's how we wanna use it for.
Here the… The fish is helping the other fish know what's coming up or what life is going to be like for him.
I'll play it, so you won't feel like you're running in circles though.
So in terms of… Strategies.
When you're working with your families and your school teams, it's really important to pair yourself with the good stuff.
So not only should you pair yourself, you should be coaching your school teams or setting up opportunities, especially if there's some challenges between the parents and a teacher or a resource teacher.
So pair yourself with the good stuff.
You're gonna wanna reinforce them really for doing the right stuff, the things that we wanna see more of.
Rayanne this morning talked to you about building currency.
This is all about building currency and we need to have some credit with those parents before we start suggesting some interventions, they might not be so thrilled to try.
Same with your school teams, we need to build that currency with both.
And so it's really important for you to help your school teams pair with the good stuff.
Just like we do with our students.
One thing that we can do when we're being proactive, is we can contact parents early.
And I wouldn't suggest is… What I do in my role and even when I was working at the District, I would encourage the school team that it wasn't about me, get them to contact the parents early, contact them and tell them, "Oh I met your son today, "and he was trying this for the first time.
"Oh I met your son today, he gave me a high five." Or something, they may be more friendly, or just to invite them to a meeting and talk about what's going to come up.
So not waiting until something happens and then your first call is, "Okay we need to have a meeting about this." The other thing that's really helpful and… It's just speaking everyday language and not use acronyms with parents.
It's good sometimes for us as professionals.
I remember when I first started working in one District and everything was acronyms and I was just writing them down thinking, "I don't wanna sound stupid and ask what this means," but just acronyms.
So it's really important we work, we talk in everyday language.
We don't have to use the fancy behavioral terms, we talk about it so that they will understand and they'll be able to make an informed decision when they're part of that team.
The other thing that's always helpful is tea and chocolate and you know when you're having those meetings and just it helps pair that.
The other thing that I really encourage my teams to do is, I talked a little bit about sharing the good news, when you make that call or when you have a meeting, one of the first things that should be shared is good news.
Maybe it's… Maybe it's only that, compliancies is up 1%.
It could be really small things.
It could be anything but just start with something somewhat positive, so that the meeting can go from there.
So the other thing that's really important here when we get into reinforcement and… And it was talked a little bit yesterday, is catching the parents being good.
So we're establishing a relationship at first or even if we're reestablishing, it's been tough, it's really important to catch some being good.
What do we wanna see more of? So if they call and leave a pleasant message on the phone, we wanna respond really quickly.
If they address an issue and have a concern in an appropriate tone of voice at a meeting, we wanna reinforce that as well.
So we can catch them being good.
If they've filled out forms, if they've come to a meeting on time, if they've called you back, that kind of thing.
Just thank them and try to reinforce that.
Another really powerful antecedent strategy that we can use with families is priming.
We just need to give them a preview of what's gonna happen.
And this is a proof for all audiences.
So I'm… As you know priming is just giving, maybe it's a visual, maybe it's a call to tell them, but this is also for teams as well who might be new.
Really important to share the process for SEP meetings or IEP meetings or transitions coming up or something that's going to happen.
Sometimes you're given agenda before the actual meeting comes up so that they know, especially when it's coming to transition things.
Because I had this experience, I go to Starbucks a lot and one of my former… My former student's parents works there and she shares with me little things and… She shared with me that she had a meeting coming up that afternoon.
And she was so stressed out because didn't know what it was about.
She's like, "They called me, I don't know what it's about." And she was so stressed and so I want you to think and we really need to coach our teams on that 'cause people just say, "Oh we need a meeting" and they're gonna think the worst, especially if they have a history of going in from challenging meetings and things like that.
It's really important to think about.
I don't know if you've ever had a boss or a partner say, "I need to talk to you about something.
Let's do it later." And you're like, "Don't tell me that.
"No we'll talk about it tonight." And all day you're probably thinking about it and it's building and the stress.
And so if you we do this to families, here they come to the meetings, already at a heightened anxiety and half the air is that.
So doing a little priming, letting them know what it's gonna be about, letting them know so they can think about it if they have any solutions or any ideas that might make it better.
So just a really… A strategy that we use with our learners all the time, priming.
And it's just, it's so important.
So and then I'll just go back to Rayanne, she talks about, she was priming this student for the next level.
The next thing that we can do that can be helpful, is we can structure the learning environment or structure the environment.
And so we need to think about our meetings that we hold with families.
I've been to some pretty special meetings.
I'm sure you have.
One thing I think that's really important, is to have a visual.
In your handouts, there's just an example of a transition meeting schedule.
I think it's so important for us to have a visual schedule at these meetings.
This can be used for priming as well.
And especially, this was just an example because when we started using this in our District, it changed our meetings and the parent knew.
It says parent concerns at the end but most of the things covered here are their concerns.
So it was just any extra.
So it's just an idea that you can incorporate.
In so many of our meetings that we go to they don't have agendas.
They don't have to be as elaborate as that.
It can just be, good news, what's your challenge? Update or whatever and what's their action.
The other thing is that, I believe there should be a timer or a clock.
Your time is valuable.
The parent's time is valuable.
And sometimes we can get off track.
And you have a timer and you set the limit, you can do effective meetings in 45 minutes.
And so if people know ahead of time, they know… Or what the agenda is, they'll have all documents ready, they have their things ready.
And I have had multiple meetings in a row 45 minutes for the 15 minute in case we have a little buffer zone, like our things we need to talk about and had like five or six meetings in a row in their 45 minutes.
So I think it's important that we keep our meeting short, as we can and almost more frequent if you have to because if we let it go too long, you'll have people canceling.
You'll have… Really hard to get people to come back to meetings.
If I told you, I'm gonna have a meeting with you tomorrow and it's possibly two to three hours long, mm-hmm something might come up.
Where if you know we're in and out and that's the structure, for the most part.
Sometimes your first meeting with families might be a little bit longer 'cause you're going to do a little get to know you but really, they're really focused on their child and we need to really value their time and 'cause it is valuable and yours is as well.
The other thing that you may encounter, is there are some families or school teams that like to talk a lot.
Setting the time limit will be… Is really helpful.
But the other thing is, scheduling something right after another parent coming in, is really they oh! Or then we can remind them, "Oh we have Mrs.
so-and-so coming." We need, we need to move on.
'Cause often we hear similar stories or people stressing where we're not really coming up with an action plan, so.
The other thing that's really important at these meetings, is to show data and give examples of our learners' work.
So often we'll talk about it at our meetings.
Well it's held on that, the child is here doing that.
But what I found that's really valuable is if you're able to get a video clip of the child actually doing the skill, it can make all the difference.
It can be part of the good news.
And I have been at meetings where, the school has been at odds with the family for years and we brought in a video of him on… Learning how to do the stationary bike and the parents were so happy.
So it became our routine to have that there.
The other thing, to have samples of the work that the child's doing, so that the parents will have an idea of what's actually happening.
If the student's there with you, you can have the student perform but it's really important to show the data but show it in real, real terms for the parents.
When you're having a meeting, it's really important to write down, not everything that… And every complaint or concern that was brought up, the concerns are important but to write down the action plan and then share it afterwards.
Because many of our families and you and I know, we can get stressed, we're busy.
But if someone's writing down what the action plan was, you have it and it's very clear.
The other thing with this, is it's important to limit the number of people you have at your meetings.
I don't have the data on this, but the more people at a meeting often increases the anxiety and we talked a little bit yesterday, about parents feeling pressure to make decisions.
And I was at a school last year where a parent came in and there had been a plan decided the week prior and she was very upset.
She said, "I didn't agree to this." But she had been in the meeting and the school didn't really understand then I said… And we kind of talked about it and we realized her stress level was so high, she had agreed to things, but really didn't remember.
So it's important for us to have that visual.
So send it out to people.
It doesn't have to have all the concerns that were brought up.
What was the action and who's gonna be responsible? The other thing I think is really important and sometimes people forget 'cause they might not wanna have another meeting, is to schedule the next meeting.
So then, you're now having multiple calls and whatever to try to organize all the people that might have needed to be at that meeting.
Set it right then and then if it has to be rescheduled, it has to be rescheduled.
But I think keeping with those it's really important.
So it's important to coach our teams, to give the intent of the call right from the beginning when they're calling the parents, the length of time available because you know and I know you can get parents, who wanna talk about all different things.
And then if a action plan is decided to write that down on the phone and when you're going to focus on, on that… One thing that… Very important, is to set guidelines and limits with phone calls, so… Or how you're going to communicate.
I had a mom who… She had been reinforced for a long time before I met her for being aggressive, to try to get what her child needed.
And she was yelling on the phone at me.
I indicated, please stop it.
I actually had to hang up on her but we talked and I gave her guidelines about how I would respond and things like that.
The other thing I think it's important is to make sure that we return phone calls or emails and that to parents within a reasonable time, even if it is to just say, "I'm looking into it" because the longer that period of time goes for the… Responding to them, their anxiety and intensity will increase.
Establishing routines of communication is very important.
In most of the cases that I've been asked to come and consult with, often the school is doing an incredible job and what's been the breakdown has been the communication and there's a miscommunication or a lack of communication or maybe there's lots of communication, going back and forth but one is not what the other needs.
And so it's really important to establish those routines.
And you know that it's going to evolve over time because, as relationships do your communication styles will change and things like that.
But it's important to talk about, is it gonna be face to face? Is gonna be on the phone? Are you gonna allow emails? Are you going to, are we gonna talk on Facebook? Probably no.
You know and establish those things.
How communication is going to happen.
I had… I'm sorry they're gone.
And then on the frequency.
So is it gonna be daily? Is it gonna be a weekly, monthly, semester? Or probably try not to do it only when there's an issue with some of our higher needs.
And what form is it going to be in.
And so many of our students that are coming into kindergarten, they've been receiving therapy and a lot of data has been shared on an ongoing basis with the parents.
And so I've worked with school teams that, the parents want all the data.
Send me all the data, give me everything and… I think that's important and we'll talk about that but that stresses the school team out.
They're…They want things all the time, they want, they want things daily, We can't do this and so, I think it's really important to ask the parents, "What do you wanna know?" And I'll give you an example, in your hand out there is a couple of visual bridges that we created and these aren't, anything to rocket science, it's a visual bridge.
And I don't know if you've used these before.
It's a way for the child to express or the parent to prompt the child, "What did you do today?" And you can put a few things.
You can put less than this but one of these, I already used these with a lot of school teams but one of my parents in schools were having a bit of a conflict in how much they wanted the data going home.
And so I asked the mom, "What do you want to know?" And she said, "I just wanna know "if he's only playing with the same toy every day." I said, "That's easy." So and what we did is we put on his, what he played with during free time.
And then we even, for her, we put… There's one here where you can put the prompt or independence so, we just put a P for prompted and plus for independence.
So she knew and then we could talk about that when we had our meetings.
We had another parent who wanted all the data as well.
And I asked him, "What do you wanna know?" And they said, "Well we just wanna know if she's talking to her teacher.
"She's scared of adults." Easy.
And so sometimes we're we just asking, the parents what they want, some parents wanna know if the child had a bowel movement, like because of the health issues.
And so you can just put that on there, BM yes, no, like that kind of thing.
So it's really important, to share data with parents but it's also important, not to just think they want everything and not to share everything.
I think the form and the context are really important.
So we need to be transparent and we need to share the child's challenges and their progress, or maybe their lack of progress.
But I think there's a way to do that.
And I've learned the hard way, through working with some teams that it's really important not to send home, the hard rod data of behavior when they're tracking like non-compliance and things like that.
Some of those have accidentally gone home or the ABC charts.
I think it's really important for those not to go home.
For one it can cause stress for the family because every time they open that book, it's not about good news.
It's oh another one.
Oh! you know, they're not focusing on the positive but also if that parent decides to start talking with the child about the, the behaviors at school and it can cause, and I've been there, it's caused some really stressful situations at home.
And then it's gone to school 'cause then the student didn't like the teacher and didn't want their agenda going home, that kind of thing.
So I think it's really important to tell this, the pa… The families that, yes, we'll share the information but there is a time and a place and we can share the graph.
We can share after we've analyzed.
And we can… But there are other things that we can share on a daily basis.
So it's really important, I think when we're having challenges with our learners, to involve the parents or involve the families.
We all know this in theory, sometimes it's harder to put into practice.
Often our families know our learners in a different way, at different contexts and they can give us insight.
We also need to let them know that maybe their child is different when they're at school 'cause there's many more people involved in different situations.
I had one situation with one of the students when I was a resource teacher that she wouldn't eat at school.
We had tried a number of things, we had taken her, we couldn't… She was very challenged to reinforce at first and she wouldn't eat.
And so we were trying not to make it a big deal but a couple of months had gone by and she hadn't eaten and we had a meeting with the family and the dad… Like we had already sent her favorite food in, we sent in the dishes that they use, everything and the parents were really being helpful.
And the dad said, "You know what? We eat spaghetti." Which was her favorite food.
"We all wear our red shirts." And the mom said, "That can't be it." I said, "Tomorrow I'll send her in a red shirt, "send the spaghetti send all this stuff." And lo and behold the next day she ate.
And she ate for the rest of the school year.
She's now in high school.
And if we wouldn't have had that meeting, we might have tried all the different behavior, things in the world.
But by having the dad just suggest, "You know what, we always wear red shirts" 'cause this family they had two children with autism and it was just easier if everyone wore on red on spaghetti day, like… The other thing that we need to think about when we're working with families is, sometimes if we… In our good intension, we have a problem solving meeting but that can be really overwhelming for a family sometimes.
Often it's good to have a pre-meeting with your team, so that you know what you're going to offer the families.
But also it can be good for families 'cause sometimes the families that we work with, they struggle with the same things that our learners do.
And so I was at one meeting one day and, and the father was there and the parent, the teacher and the EA and I were talking and they were kind of putting out different ideas of what could be done and I just saw him getting so stressed out 'cause he struggled with many of the same issues that our learner did.
And I put the brakes on the meeting and I said, "Oh! Let's just take a couple of minutes" and then we provide with him a choice.
Where, "These are two things that we think, "what would you like to do in that?" That really helped him and we planned in the future that when we had meetings with him, it would be giving him a couple of choices for the next step.
So Rayanne did a really nice job this morning, talking about planning for a transition.
So I won't go into a whole lot of things about that but the fact is, is that, change is hard.
It's not just hard for learners.
It's hard for our families.
It's hard for you and I.
So I don't know if anyone sat in someone else's seat this morning, anybody? But if… But if that happened, that change be hard for some people.
So little changes like that are really hard for everybody.
So it's really important that we plan for transition.
We plan for changes and for our learners for families and for our school teams, to help them be successful because even little tiny changes are hard.
Changes in our boss, changes in forms, changes in procedure and then you get the picture.
Change is hard.
And so… Really important to help our teams with that.
One thing we need to remember is that stuff happens.
I could have just wrote something else there but this is going on the APSEA website.
And it's important to let our teams know that stuff happens, things happen and sometimes it's tough but it's really important to communicate when stuff happens, sometimes where our teams will shut down and we really need to coach them through that.
I had a situation with a school team.
I was asked to go in and work with the team and the parent and when I arrived, it was a very, very minor issue.
But what had happened is because the mom had called, for three weeks the… And it was not responded to, it was a big deal.
And so it was a really small issue that could have been dealt with in a day or two.
But the team was really scared about this conflict.
And so really important to, as part of our routine setting and the frequency, setting those routines, that if there's a call comes in or an email comes in, you don't have to have the answer but you can let them know that, we're working on it.
We're looking into it.
We're checking out what's happening.
There's a wonderful thing on your Talk Mail messages.
I've had a mom, who would constantly call me when I was a resource teacher.
And I always responded.
I use Talk Now to answer the questions 'cause I knew if I got on the phone, it was very hard to get off with her.
I don't suggest you do that all the time but you're returning those calls.
If you need a tutorial on how to do that, I will explain later, I won't do that right now.
But it's important that when stuff happens, we take responsibility.
If it was something that we promised that would happen or if a mistake was made, it's better to take responsibility now than, six months down the road or when it's being looked into by human rights or something like that because stuff does happen.
Try to learn the lesson from it, whatever happens, whether it's through… With families or with a student, learn the lesson because if you don't, you'll probably have to learn it again.
And then when you've learned the lesson and you've been able to figure things out, move on.
In our roles and in roles as school teams, we can't take things personally.
It's really hard sometimes, but we can't take it personally.
We need to remember, we are this family's Holland.
We have chosen this career.
They did not choose this and we need to move on and even though sometimes it may feel very personal and sometimes it might get a little personal in those meetings.
It's really important that we move on.
I had a mom once who I made the mistake and I never did it after this, is I was, I was in the hallway at school and I asked her, I said, "Good morning?" She said, "Good morning" and I said, "How are you?" Well she yelled at me… Up one side of me down the other over something that wasn't related to me, it had to do with transportation but I was quite shocked.
And I knew that, I was not gonna take that anymore.
I went to the principal's office and I explained it, what had happened and then we had a meeting scheduled with her later that week.
So, when she arrived at the meeting, I could've taken that personally.
I knew that she was very stressed about transportation.
She had a child with a lot of needs and I really had to put that behind us.
She did start to yell in the meeting, but I did… I said to her, "If you need a few minutes, "to collect yourself," we can do that.
She said, "give me five." I set the timer for five minutes and we sat in silence for five minutes.
And then I said, "Are you ready?" And we were off again, we were able to move on and I was able… Our team was able to work with her successfully for the next two years.
There was ups and downs and things like that.
But by putting those guidelines in place and us not taking it personally, it really helped.
When stuff happens it's really important that we all remember what our focus is.
The focus is our learner and the learner's really depending on us, to do that.
Sometimes you may be in a situation that things have happened and there is some problems or sometimes you inherit situations and you need to refocus.
Because we know behavior, we know that we're all very sensitive to behavior contingencies.
We know not only our parents, not only our students, school teams are as well.
And sometimes it's hard to change, behaviors of school teams because it's reinforcing for that student not to be at school or not to be in that situation or whatever it may be.
So it's important to really look at what those functions are for our team and really use our behavior skills to help those teams.
We might even have to use those autoclitics, we talked about yesterday when we were bringing our teams together and talking about, maybe start with, I know this might be difficult to make changes but the child is really depending on us to make changes or whatever it is.
You may have to have to use a lot of autoclitics through your whole meeting.
And you may have to have those, those prior meetings with your school team before you have a big meeting when you're refocusing 'cause in your role, it's really important that there's no surprises from your school staff when you arrive at a meeting.
You need to have established what they're willing to do and how you're going to maybe put that in place.
It can be quite stressful if during the meeting a parent decides or if the school says, "I'm not going to do that." And so you can be working through those things as well.
So in refocusing, it's really important to look at those things and look at what does the learner need.
And often you'll be the person coming in… Maybe is able to listen and I've often used the thing as, "We're in the same book, "we're just all in a different page." Where really our focus is the child and we all want what's best, we're just saying it in a different language and just trying to focus on the commonalities which are the child and both the team and the, the parents really want what's best for that child.
It's really important for us to celebrate.
We don't celebrate enough.
We need to celebrate, Maybe growth, maybe if it's only that 1% compliance increase.
Or maybe it's just those two or three steps on the task analysis.
Those steps forward for our child, those little steps… Are really important to celebrate.
And sometimes I talked a little bit about having that video of the student doing those, tasks that they're learning.
And that helps to celebrate, those moments those times maybe sending home that little video on your iPhone to the parent, that helps celebrate.
I remember, well, I get… I'm pretty relaxed person but one thing that gets me very excited, is when learners make progress.
When we start a school year and they don't know how to do a gym routine, they don't know how to, maybe set the table wash their face do all these things and it comes like March and we're almost independent.
And I remember this one meeting, where we're showing the data to the mom and the dad and we're showing the videos.
And I was, I didn't realize I was quite animated and so excited and she was laughing at me saying, "Sheri, you're more excited about this than we are." And I said, "Yes, he could not do any of these skills "at the beginning of the year and now he can." And just the possibilities for that and I think it's really important that, especially for our families, where the growth may be so, so small, it's important that we acknowledge it and we celebrate it.
Maybe you're just celebrating the end of a challenging week with your team, end of a month, semester, year, celebrate with the families too, that okay, "This is done, we're moving on to high school now." Just acknowledge those small victories.
So in closing, I would like you to just remember a few things, to make the most of Holland for these families.
Include the learner and the family in as many of the school community activities as possible.
One thing when I was a resource teacher, we made a huge effort, to have the children involved in the Christmas concert.
And if that meant, we had a runner with walkie talkies and had that learner in my resource room, until it was the absolute last moment to go on and the joy and the pleasure that that brought to so many families at our school, was really worth every bit of that effort.
Also to have them involved in as many activities at school with like intramurals if you can or just involved or graduation, start planning for some of those things because those are milestones that the parent dreamed of their child being able to take part in.
And if there's a possibility we should, I think we should make that happen.
We can get into school trips and all of that stuff.
Things that are a little bit more challenging or a little more scary, right? 'Cause you're in public at that graduation, you're going on a trip but with the right supports and maybe it means the families close by too.
Some of those things can happen for families.
So we wanna make the most of Holland for them.
And so the take home message is, I'd like everyone to remember that, that we are part of Holland for these families.
That, how important it is for us to be proactive.
Use your strategies.
You have a very powerful tool.
And remember use them for good.
And just remember and help our teams know that stuff will happen.
Even when you've, made all the plans and things have all been put in place.
Listening to both sides, to the school teams and the families is really important.
What do they really want? What do they really need? Will help working toward a positive relationships.
And the last point is, the learner is depending on us to have this relationship, to plan for them.
They have no one else and if the people that are looking after their planning, can't get along and can't work together, doesn't mean you have to like each other but if they can't work together, then that child is really going to suffer.
So the learner is really dependent on us.