Would a Seminar on How to Talk to Special Needs Parents be helpful?

Discussion in 'Special Education Archives' started by Teachingnow, May 30, 2006.

  1. Teachingnow

    Teachingnow Rookie

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    As a special needs teacher at an elementary school, I am sometimes taken aback by the way parents are told their child is a special needs child. This lack of compassion comes from the psychologist, the principal and sometimes my fellow special needs teachers. Hearing that their child has a problem for the first time has to be a scary proposition, to say the least, for the parent.

    My question is, do you think that a seminar (maybe during in-service) done professionally which discusses the do's and don'ts of speaking with parents of special needs children would be a good idea? I have been approached by a professional, who has shown me the presentation, complete with workbook, which "sensitizes" one to the needs of the parent of the child.

    I am just thinking that the first contact we have with a parent might tell whether we are going to have success or failure. So, maybe a couple hours of discussing how to talk to them might be helpful.

    I would certainly welcome feedback on this before I take it any further with my co-workers and supervisor. Please give me your input.:)
     
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  3. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    I am not a teacher as of yet, but I am a Medicaid Service Coordinator with DD children and adults. My personal opinion, is a workshop is a workshop. They can give you words to repeat, but basically you have to take a compassionate approach and use common sense. A parent of a disabled child, knows there is a problem. They may be in denial, but all they want is to learn how to help their child. As a professional you already have that knowledge in your posession.

    MY advice the Kid first then the disability. Start off positive by focusing on strengths ( yes, everyone has them) and you will be fine.

    Don't mean to sound annoyed, but sometimes it bothers me that people are forgetting about the child because he or she has a disability. I've been in the field for 13 years. I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly as far as professionalism.
     
  4. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    The so called professionals ( psychologists) are trained to report "facts" they often forget the humanistic side of the situation.
     
  5. frodolass

    frodolass Comrade

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    As the parent of a child with a disability, I've had the most horrible, insensitive things said to me by school personnel. I think a seminar might be helpful if people are willing to really listen and participate. It would be cool if you could do some role-playing. Good luck, it sounds interesting.
     
  6. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    This is where we as teachers have an opportunity to really be the human side of the equation for parents--doctors, psychologists, etc are in the picture for such limited spurts of time in a child's life. They give the news and then they're gone. Teachers walk alongside the family day in and day out, so they have a chance to help them with the joys and yes, the challenges, that come with any special needs. The parent/teacher relationship is crucial. I agree with Miss Frizzle that it ultimately takes mostly compassion and common sense, but it doesn't hurt to sit down with others who have been in the situation before and discuss it. A workshop properly formatted could be a good jumping off point for some valuable pointers, especially from veteran teachers to newer teachers in the field.
     
  7. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    BCblue- you are right it certainly wouldn't hurt- lord knows some of them need to hear it.
     
  8. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    That's the truth. You feel like you are talking to Det. Joe Friday, "Just the facts, ma'am!!":eek: :rolleyes:
     
  9. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    I too think it could be a jumping off point--I just hope it wouldn't become just another hoop to jump through. You know what I mean. "Well I have to take yet another seminar ...blah blah". It appalls me the lack of compassion, but then again I guess I see how it just becomes part of the job and one could WAY too easily just go about the business of reporting it. I know I've goofed with my own sensitivity at times. I guess the best advice is to never be off your guard and to go into those kind of meetings with kid gloves on (did I say that clique right?).
     
  10. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Viola- that is the reason why I thought it was not a good idea. Some veteran teachers just go through the motions with seminars... not all, but some.
     
  11. Teachingnow

    Teachingnow Rookie

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    I think too, that the seminar would have to be one that allows the participants to practice what is being taught. I think the purpose of this seminar might be to sensitize teachers, psychologists, counselors and even principals to what the parent might be feeling. Is that what others of you think? Of course a seminar poorly done is a waste of time. But, I am thinking I might like to be in this sort of a seminar, if I have to be in one, as opposed to one on lesson plans, or behavioral objectives (remember them?) What do you think?
     
  12. bcblue

    bcblue Comrade

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    I wonder if it would be helpful to have a parent speak? I know that most of my awareness of how parents are feeling, etc, comes from knowing them and talking with them, and growing up with close family friends who were in the situation.
     
  13. Teachingnow

    Teachingnow Rookie

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    What a wonderful suggestion! I think a seminar of this nature could definitely benefit from the parent.Maybe the seminar could be a powerpoint presentation and interviews with parents of special needs kids could be on that presentation as part of it. I love that idea and if a seminar of this nature were ever to be developed, that MUST be part of what it includes. Great thinking!
     
  14. Teachingnow

    Teachingnow Rookie

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    I mean that the parent inclusion in the program would be a sort of interview. Not just written, but actual footage of the parent's point of view. You think?
     
  15. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    I think your ideas are wonderul, I just hope that staff, as we have mentioned, open their ears and listen.
     
  16. wanateach

    wanateach Companion

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    What a wonderful idea, to include the parents perspective, I think we need more empathy in our world-to give a voice to the ones who really are affected the most by and hopefully benefit the most from special education-that would be the goal. I think that is the reason I am called into special ed-to walk and talk and guide parents as well as students through the successful path of life complete with choices, decisions and opportunities they may not know exist. Thanks for bringing this issue to light. Lori
     
  17. Teachingnow

    Teachingnow Rookie

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    I spoke again with the person who has developed this seminar. She is very qualified to present it. She has a degree in counseling and has spent time in schools working with staff and special needs people. Her question to me is how she might best get this out there. In her words, "How do I get this seminar to the people who might best use it?" Anyone have suggestions? How do we, most of us anyway, get a seminar selected to be presented? I am not really sure. I want to give her suggestions. Thanks everyone for your help.
     
  18. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    It's all about the publicity... put out flyers around school and in the community w/ a brief description of the speaker and her background. Make it exciting. See if you can put ads in the local papers,,,
     
  19. Teachingnow

    Teachingnow Rookie

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    Thanks Miss Frizzle. Your comment and suggestion is most appreciated.
     
  20. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Thanks- let us know how it goes.
     

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