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IFSP Tutorial - Developing and Implementing
 

Implementing the IFSP:


Essential Content for Implementing the IFSP


Page 6 of 16

Being an “Expert” vs. sharing expertise with families

Collaborating with families requires rethinking traditional lines of authority and decision making. Who is the privileged party i.e., who "owns" the treatment goals and program? Issues of “compliance" are a common theme in medical and rehabilitation literature and reinforce the traditional parent/professional power dichotomy. There is a vast difference between presenting oneself as an early intervention provider with special expertise versus as an Expert whose recommendations must be followed as stipulated or risk being viewed as noncompliant.

Parents may fear if they do not comply with an early intervention provider’s recommendations, they may lose some supports and services for their child. When a family member does not find suggestions helpful, an opportunity for discussion is presented. What interfered with a family’s plan to implement suggestions, given they were really on target to begin with? Early intervention providers should ask, “What can I do to help you figure this out and how can we reach the same outcome in another way?” Perhaps an outcome needs to be further refined, or different strategies tried. The discussion should focus on describing behavior (i.e., What happened? What did you do when he…?), rather than making a value judgment about a parent’s intentions or ability to care for her child.

An important skill that is essential to sharing expertise is being able to differentiate between translating and transferring professional knowledge and skills. This distinction is as important when coaching/consulting with colleagues as with family members
(Hanft & Pilkington,2000). When early intervention providers translate their area of expertise, they listen to family members (or colleagues) talk about their role in relation to a specific child in order to select relevant information and strategies to help each adult achieve his or her desired outcomes. Each mother, father or early intervention colleague has his or her own knowledge and experience that serves as a foundation for adding information and skills.

Early intervention providers must figure out how to support another adult’s learning rather than simply transferring knowledge about and responsibility for carrying out suggestions. It is inappropriate and ineffective for early intervention providers to undertake to transfer their knowledge and skills to others without translating how to do this by considering the other adult’s role, experience and desire for follow-up support. As one mother stated simply, “I want to be Zak’s mother, not his therapist (Lyon, 1989)”. What does being a mother to Zak mean to this parent, and how can an early intervention provider translate his or her knowledge and experience to support this mother’s idea of effective parenting and help her achieve her selected outcomes for her child, and herself, if desired?


Screenshot

Video Clips:
 

The video clips are available in Windows Media Player format and Quicktime format. In order to view the clips you must have either Windows Media Player or Quicktime installed on your machine. To download the programs, click on the icon next to the program's title.

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2. The video will open in the video program. (Windows Media Player or Quicktime)

 

 
     
Videos Below:
 

Review this video clip from Just Being Kids illustrating early intervention supports and services for Nolan and his family. This clip focuses on how parents Kim and Ron were prompted by their early intervention provider, Lisa, a physical therapist, to talk about their family hopes and challenges. Lisa asked about the “good times” in their family as well as how she could help them improve their child care routines so that Nolan could enjoy and benefit from natural learning opportunities presented during bath time.

1. Physical therapist’s comments about sharing expertise and listening to a family’s story.

Windows Media File (wmv)

High-Speed File: Nolan A

Low-Speed File: Nolan A (56K modem)

QuickTime (mov)

High-Speed File: Nolan A

Low-Speed File: Nolan A (56K modem)

2. Mother’s comments about how she benefits from therapist’s expertise.

Windows Media File (wmv)

High-Speed File: Nolan B

Low-Speed File: Nolan B (56K modem)

QuickTime (mov)

High-Speed File: Nolan B

Low-Speed File: Nolan B (56K modem)

 
     

 


 

 


 

 

 


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