Handout #2, “Developing Family-Service Provider Collaboration and Leadership,” is the same handout the participants received in “Session 5: Developing Family-Service Provider Collaboration.” You may ask participants who attended that session to bring it, or you may want to print out new copies.
Participants in this session should include family members and service providers. The facilitator who is a family member of a child with a disability will share the story of her/his journey into becoming a family leader. The story might describe how she or he learned about the system and services and moved into family leadership roles (for example, as a staff member, a Family Resource Center leader, or a trainer; or as a spokesperson giving policy input at the local, state, and national levels). This is a 5-minute presentation.
The following are some sample points to cover:
- It may take time to develop the skills needed to feel comfortable taking on leadership roles.
- It takes support and mentoring from service providers and other families.
- Keep offering opportunities; if a family says “no” at one point, it doesn’t mean they are not interested—it may just be an inconvenient time.
- A family’s availability to participate in leadership opportunities varies depending on what else is going on in their lives, and it varies over time.
- Offer opportunities to all families. Avoid asking one family member to represent all families on all leadership activities. Invite a variety of family members (moms, dads, grandparents, etc.) to become involved. Consider strategies for reaching out to families representing the populations you serve.