Feeling heard. Sharing. Creating solutions together.– A six word story, by Carrie Mamantov
Celebrate the wins, however small. I don’t know who said it first, but I say it often. And in our world of daily challenges and baby steps for milestones, seeing and feeling like progress is happening feels good. Honestly, it feels really good, especially when you know you’ve been working at it.
So, after a short happy dance, and a figurative pat on the back, I was inspired to write a six-word story about the small, but powerful progress I was feeling. This six-word story, “Together”, represents weeks and probably months of developing a relationship that feels productive and inclusive and open. And we’ve done it virtually, I might add.
3 layers parents need to work on to build connections with providers
- Consistent communications
Layers to building connections
Each relationship with each provider in my daughter’s life is a challenge. This is not because these professionals are difficult. It’s because there are so many layers to the work we have to do. I’ve been analyzing my interactions, the good and the bad, and I’ve outlined some layers to this.
Do we feel we each believe the other appreciates our work? Do we both understand who the other is as a person, and see our views as valuable?
We can’t trust someone if they don’t respect us, and we probably can’t respect someone we can’t trust.
Sometimes when we simplify things for children, we ended up with the clearest message for all people. The Kids Helpine of Australia does a nice job of outlining everything related to respect and relationships.
Receiving respect from others is important because it helps us to feel safe and to express ourselves.KidsHelpline.com
Parenting children with disabilities creates challenges. When our feelings are already overwhelmed by all the external factors in our lives, it’s hard for us to focus on our own internal needs. But I’ve read, and learned through time, we also have to still respect ourselves and make sure we believe our words are worthy of hearing. It’s complex stuff. It doesn’t mean it is impossible.
Do we each feel we can be open? This blends trust and probably some humility to make it work. Not being afraid to share ideas or observations, from both sides, is critical. And many of the professionals we are partnering with are having to work within additional layers of policies and procedures, red tape and even legal requirements, making openness almost impossible to achieve.
In my experience, this ability to achieve openness within the parent/professional connection is also dependent on both sides being in tune with their own needs and emotions. We have to feel ok with sharing these emotions, however raw they are, and however imperfect.
Communicating with words and charts and in multiple formats and finding the right combo for collaborating is very hard to keep up. The consistency here is where I fall down. I have ideas, and I make videos and I share with the providers, but then I move on. I forget to whom I have shared which little nuggets of observations. Having charts or a scheduled check-in time helps so much with making progress and seeing progress.
There has been a lot of research done on the psychological impact of measuring and tracking progress for any type of goal. It works in business and it definitely works in personal health and fitness — look at the success of Fitbit, and related personal health tracking devices. One study by the American Psychological Association stated it straight out – the more you track, the more you will be successful toward your goal.
Take away: When we see progress, we want to do more, and we can adjust our approach and keep working at it, together! We need respect to begin the sharing and openness to enable communication. Then, we need consistency in how we track and share to work toward the child’s goals.
Invitation to collab
Curious how this works in real life? Me, too. I am very open to ideating on ways to make it easier for parents and professionals to partner on tracking and communicating their successes as a team.