This session is essential to set the tone for audiences who are considering including young children with disabilities and their families in early care and education programs. It is also important to create a safe climate for personal reflection and sharing.
This session will help participants consider their vision for including individuals with disabilities in their programs and communities and explore the importance of working collaboratively to enhance services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
Introductions are particularly important the first time a group is together to get to know each other. The suggested opener may be modified to gather input or identify issues that may be of importance to the group. In the brief introductions suggested, participants briefly share their name, role, and program. They also share one word or idea that comes to mind when they think about building relationships between families and service providers. Other options include sharing key issues that affect family-service provider relationships, effective strategies that build positive relationships, reasons for (or the importance of) building relationships with families, etc. Some of these openers may take longer than others. Facilitators may want to chart some of the ideas, issues, or strategies to refer to later in the session.
In the wrap-up, the importance of having a vision for inclusive services is highlighted. Participants are asked to consider developing or revisiting their own vision for services to children and families. In the Including Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities and their Families volume, “Session 2: Developing Your Vision,” there are suggested activities for developing a common vision for inclusive services. This volume provides opportunities to consider how to effectively partner with families to achieve these visions.