Parents and Professionals Partnering for Children With Disabilities
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Parents and Professionals Partnering for Children With Disabilities
A Dance That Matters

  • Janice M. Fialka - National Parent Leader, Early On Michigan Training and Technical Assistance, Part C of IDEA
  • Arlene K. Feldman - Educational Consultant, Adjunct, SUNY, New Paltz, Retired Director of Special Education, Valley Central School District, Montgomery, NY
  • Karen C. Mikus - Clinical Psychologist

Foreword by Ann P. Turnbull



© 2012 | 176 pages | Corwin

Cultivate effective partnerships between parents and professionals through honest, respectful and skillful communication

The authors draw upon the metaphor of "dance" to better understand the complexities and possibilities of forming partnerships between educators, administrators, early childhood providers, therapists, support staff, other professionals, and parents of children with disabilities. This revised edition of Do You Hear What I Hear? Parents and Professionals Working Together for Children With Special Needs is rich with stories, examples, and practical insights. This book, written from both the parent's and the professional's points of view, provides a developmental approach to understanding and forging positive adult relationships, while also providing concrete ways to advocate for children. The authors' years of experience as successful consultants, trainers, and educators lends this helpful resource a deep sense of realism and compassion. They remind the reader of how essential the parent-professional partnership is—and why it IS a dance that matters.

Key features include:

  • Practical insights and evidence-based approaches to forming partnerships
  • Easy-to-read, non-technical language that speaks to both the heart and the mind 
  • Sample letters and other forms of communication shared between professionals and parents 
  • Stories and examples of real-world conversations between parents and professionals
  • Effective ways to handle difficult situations

Rich with humor and heart, this highly readable book offers helpful steps for self reflection, personnel preparation, and parent-professional training. Educators and parents will find expert guidance for listening to each other's music, trying out each other's dance steps, and working toward a new dance that includes contributions from all—with the ultimate reward of seeing children achieve their highest potential.

Flip to page 7 for a review of the book in the Family Matter @ School Newsletter!

 
Foreword by Ann P. Turnbull
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Introduction
 
1. The Dance Toward Partnership: Using the Dance Metaphor to Understand Parent-Professional Partnerships
How the Dance Begins  
Phases of the Partnership Dance  
More Resources  
 
2. Listening to the Hidden Lyrics: Tuning in to Your Partner
The Story of Sam  
The Story of Rachel  
More Resources  
 
3. The Dance Manual: Essential Steps to Keep on Dancing
For Parents: Essential Steps  
For Professionals: Essential Steps  
More Resources  
 
4. When the Dance Is Complicated
A Complicated Dance: When Parents Appear Angry  
A Few Other Points to Consider When Parents Seem to be Uninvolved or Are Absent  
Concluding Thoughts: We Are All People First  
More Resources  
 
5. Enhancing the Dance: Partnership Notes
Practical Suggestions for Professionals  
Partnership Notes  
More Resources  
 
A Dance That Matters
 
Resources for Families and Professionals
 
References and Selected Readings

“I love this book. It helps people to truly walk in someone else’s footprints. This guide will show beginning teachers and other professionals how to build successful relationships with their students' parents.” 

Natalie Marston, Principal
Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Edgewater, Maryland

"If parents and professionals could wear out their shoes by dancing the way Fialka, Feldman, and Mikus describe it in this book, the shoes would indeed be worth pressing against one’s heart. Through stories, the authors expertly choreograph the steps families, professionals, and the children must take to foster this essential relationship—like a waltz: one, two, three."

Robin McWilliam, Director, Center for Child and Family Research
Siskin Children’s Institute, Chattanooga, TN

"This book beautifully reminds us that social change happens through listening, dialogue, and engagement. Beneath our roles as professionals and parents, these authors gently help us to remember that 'we are all people first,' and through empathy we can find ways to sidestep—or dance— around many of the missteps that lead to misunderstanding and conflict. This book is a wonderful resource for anyone trying to navigate the complexities of supporting and advocating for disabled students in inclusive classrooms."

Emma Van der Klift and Norman Kunc, Co- directors
Broadreach Training and Resources, British Columbia, Canada

“A mother who found her calling through fate or accident—and never looked away or glanced back—Janice Fialka is internationally renowned for her relentless, never-say-never advocacy. She and her coauthors offer hope and wisdom for parents who would see more clearly into the lives of their children—disabled or not—and for every professional who would engage them.”

Bill Ayers, Author, To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher and A Kind and Just Parent

“Rarely does a book hold such promise for promoting genuine partnerships between families of children with disabilities and the professionals who participate in their care. The real-life passages from the authors, seasoned parents, and experienced professionals infuse this work with unparalleled authenticity.”

Susan Addison, Special Educator, Retired
Chattanooga, TN
Key features

  • An accessible, easy to read, and non-technical resource for family-centered practice and school-home collaboration.

  • Sample letters in Part 3 are tools which will help educators better express their thoughts and feelings to parents. Part 3 also offers great examples of the power of positive communication.

  • Because of the authors' empathy for the anxiety and uncertainty that educators, service professionals, and parents may have about their working relationship, readers of this guide will feel understood and validated.

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ISBN: 9781412966399

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