Strategies for Effective Communication and Collaboration Helping People With Special Needs Live the Fullest Lives Possible Since 1977

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  • Strategies for Effective Communication and Collaboration

    Helping People With Special Needs Live the Fullest Lives Possible Since 1977

  • Direction ServiceDirection Service is a nonprofitmulti-family support agencyoperating in Eugene, Oregon since 1977. The overall goals of Direction Service are simple, real and make a difference in the lives of those we are able to touch:To coordinate the delivery of services to families who have children with disabilities.To reduce family stress, confusion, frustration and isolation.To reduce the lifetime cost of services provided to children with disabilities.To encourage an informed partnership between families and school districts that optimizes learning.

  • Direction Service Counseling CenterDirection Service Counseling Center provides the full range of mental health services to very young children, children and adolescents, families, adults, and elders. These services include: comprehensive assessment, treatment planning, individual and family therapy, skill building, group therapy and consultation. The Counseling Center provides service to clients experiencing mood and anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and childhood impulse and behavioral disorders. Personnel are particularly adept at providing services to clients and families who experience developmental disabilities in combination with mental and emotional disorders.

  • Family Support & Service CoordinationFamily-centered and family-directedCulturally sensitiveEmpowerment-focusedStrengths-based (capitalize on family energy, expertise and resources)Strategic investments (need, impact)

  • ServicesEmpathetic supportReferral to critical servicesCrisis preventionCrisis responseStabilization of familiesProblem-solving supportShort and long term planning

  • OutcomesReduced stress, isolationIncreased child successReduced inappropriate referrals and duplication of servicesFamily empowermentTimely service utilizationEnhanced interagency collaboration

  • Current Statistical InfoFor 07/01/09 06/30/10:Total new referrals: 193Total continuing clients: 452Total clients served: 645Current staff FTE: 4.65 (3.8 FSC)Active Caseload: 1:170Total open cases: 2412Open Caseload: 1:635

  • Our Top TipsTake someone alongUse the power of silenceDont shoot the letter carrierEvaluate compromisesThe power of "I don't know what you are talking about"If this were your childPrepare questionsGet involvedAcknowledge good work

  • The Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them. Cultural Diversity

  • Listening

  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood.Stephen Covey Habit 5 Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

  • Understanding Positions and Interests

  • Interest-based Negotiation Aims not to change the other person, but to change negotiation behaviorShifts from your position versus mine to you and I versus the problemInvolves a mutual exploration of interests to yield more creative options.Uses objective criteriaAdapted from Highnam, K. (2001). Interest-based negotiation, CSSEA 2001 Fall Conference and AGM. Surry B.C, Canada. CSSEA; Fisher and Ury, Getting to Yes.

  • Use Your PowerThe most common way people give up their power is by thinking they dont have any. Alice Walker

  • What is an Advocate?Advocates speak up for themselves or others to make things better.Have you ever?Met with your childs teacher about any issue?Spoke at a local gathering about a project you care about?Told a cashier that an item was not ringing up correctly?

  • Why be an Advocate?Your experiences are valuable and can be used to improve thingsYou know when something is or isnt workingYou have ideas how to make things betterYou have the only long-term connection to this child

  • Six SkillsTo be an effective advocate:1. Understand your childs disability2. Know the key players3. Know your rights and responsibilities4. Become well organized5. Use clear and effective communication6. Know how to resolve disagreements

  • In Other Words:Who is the star?Who are the players?What are the rules?What is my plan of action?What do I say when its my turn?What do we do when we disagree?

  • Skill #1: Understand The Childs DisabilityUnderstanding helps you:Know which services are appropriate for the childHave high expectationsFind the right assistive technology and accommodationsUse resources to learn more!

  • Skill #2: Know the Key PlayersWho is the director or decision maker?Are staff people public, non-profit, or private employees?How can you find a persons name?

  • Skill #3: Know Your Rights and ResponsibilitiesLearn about them by:Reading Web sitesAsking how service is fundedAsking to see laws and policiesAsking questionsJoining a group

  • Creating PartnershipsParents and professionals can be partners and:Work togetherShare goalsHave individual rolesShare authorityHave different skillsSolve problems

  • Skill #4: Become Well OrganizedKeep recordsPut it in writingKeep a phone logHave a meeting notebook

  • Skill #5: Use Clear and Effective CommunicationKeep your eyes on the prizeListen and ask questions

  • Skill #5: Use Clear and Effective CommunicationFocus on needs of the childProblem solve together to find solutions

  • Skill # 5: Use Clear and Effective CommunicationSpeak clearlyAvoid making people feel defensiveTurn negatives into positivesSummarize

  • Tips for Good Communication at a MeetingFocus on your goalShow respect and expect it from othersManage your emotionsAsk questionsRephrase for clarificationSay thanks

  • Tips for Written CommunicationLetters should: Be sent to person who can make a changeBe dated and signedFocus on one or two issues Be no longer than one pageSet a deadline if a reply is requestedGive your contact informationRemember to keep a copy for yourself!

  • When You DisagreeDisagree without being disagreeableApologize if neededSeparate the person from the problemRealize NO ONE has all the answersMake sure your facts are correctChoose your battles

  • Skill #6: Know How to Resolve DisagreementsInformal Processes:Talk to people first

  • Skill #6: Know How to Resolve DisagreementsFormal Processes:Mediation ComplaintsAppeals

  • SummaryI am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.Helen Keller

  • Questions?


  • Contact Information

    Aimee WalshFamily Support & Service CoordinationDirection Service, Inc.



    Cultural competence presupposes that one of the partners in a relationship is going to be developing cultural competence about the other in the relationship; usually, it is the professional who is assumed to need to develop cultural competence. Cultural reciprocity is about building relationships its not just about learning about the other, but also about sharing about oneself.

    *Separates the people from the problemSoft on people, hard on problemRole play option from Diana

    When you put into practice the process of working out an agreement in an interest-based way, you are changing negotiation behavior (not trying to change the other person). Interest-based negotiation recognizes that it is important to to deal with people as human beings, with emotions, deeply held values, different backgrounds, etc. Keep in mind face-saving, etc. Separate the people from the problem. Be soft on people, hard on problemInterest-based negotiation is like Aikido yours vs my position; shifts to you & me Vs the problemFinding a way together to explore each others interests, to be able to find create options to meet the interests of each other to resolve the issues.

    Parents of children with disabilities who participated in recent focus groups expressed a lot of frustration.I feel like my childs teacher thinks she knows my son better than I do.It seems like the staff members support their system and not me and my child.I always feel spoken down to.When I ask for clarification, I feel brushed off or rushed along. This makes me feel voiceless.Sometimes I just give up and leave it to the school.I get the attitude that we are the professionals; we know whats best so just listen to us.I do not understand if they are telling me the truth. Im not in a position to question anything.I only seem to get the services my child deserves when I know my rights and responsibilities.

    Related Activity: Ask: Do you feel any of these frustrations? Others youd like to share? After they share, ask parents what they think the above quote means.

    The goal of this workshop is to help you realize that you DO have power and can be an effective advocate for your child. We will help you learn more skills to do this.All of your children may need you to advocate for them at different times and places in their lives, but your child with a disability may need more help for a longer time. You may not find it easy to be an advocate, but its very important and you CAN do it!! In fact, YOU are often the ONLY one who can!You dont need to feel frustrated or powerless about your childs issues. You can use the power you have for effective advocacy for your child with a disability.

    An advocate can be broadly defined as someone who speaks up to make things better. Advocates can speak up for themselves or others.Each of you has already been an advocate. You may not have attach