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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 5, Lesson 3

Collaborating with Other Professionals

Why Is Good Communication within the Community Important?

As stated in Lesson 2, it is critically import to communicate effectively with families to establish relationships. This is also true in order to establish good working relationships and build collaborative partnerships with our professional peers. The same critical communication skills to enhance collaboration with families also apply to professionals. (Banks, Santos, & Roof, 2003; Briggs, 1997; Dunst, 2002; Jordan, 2001; Rush, Sheldon, & Hanft, 2003) This is a requirement of the Early Steps service delivery system. Florida's Early Steps Service Delivery and Guidance: Delivering Services in the Routines and Daily Activities of Young Children with Disabilities and Their Families (2005), states, "It is intended that each provider will interact with all other service providers... (p. 19)'.

In the section on Team Considerations the paper states: The primary purpose of the team based primary service provider approach is to pool and integrate the expertise of team members so that more efficient and comprehensive assessment and intervention services may be provided. The communication style in this type of team involves continuous give and take between all members (especially the family) on a regular, planned basis. (p. 17)

Go back and re-read the important components of communication for collaboration with families in the "Communicating with Families" section of Lesson 2. Instead of putting the statements in the context of building relationships through communication with families, think about building relationships with your professional peers. Do the same communication components apply?

Can you think of other components that apply?

nurse doing testsPerhaps the most important skill professionals can have when working in collaborative relationships is to stay focused on the goal of the collaboration. By focusing on and communicating the positive as often as possible and emphasizing the areas of common purpose, professionals can be a powerful force to bring about positive changes for families as they negotiate the often confusing terrain of early intervention. Developing a team attitude with professional peers is the key.

It is also important to maintain regular, on-going contact with other early intervention professionals. This serves two purposes. One is to keep everyone informed about funding options, program characteristics, or changing family issues (priorities, concerns or circumstances). Another is to develop and enhance our working relationships to do our jobs more effectively and support ourselves. Working together as a team requires many skills and necessitates many interactions with others. At times, you can feel overwhelmed by all there is to do and what is still undone. Take time to support and communicate with one another. Talk with fellow team members to see if they are feeling the same things you are. Don't hesitate to ask for help or advice when you don't know what to do.

Access and read pages 22-24 in the Resource Bank document,

Reflect on how interactions between Isabel, the interventionist and the child care provider occurred. How was communication handled? How was the child care provider supported?


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