WHAT IS THE PARENT
We know that the families of children with special needs can provide unique and valuable insight into caring for and supporting their children. These families live special lives. We are creating this directory as a means to educate emerging professionals, early childhood practitioners and community members with first hand knowledge of what families experience and what they need from service providers. The directory will include a brief introduction to each family, the region in which they live and contact information. Faculty members and other educators will have access to the directory and would contacta family to come in and share their family story.
WHAT IS A PARENT
A parent consultant is a parent with a child with special needs who is willing to share his/her experiences, expertise and perspective with students, early childhood practitioners, and/or community members . No special training is required, but a video is available at the Waisman Center entitled "Telling Your Family Story: Parents as Presenters," if consultants are interested.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN PRE-PROFESSIONAL TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT?
Pre-professional training takes place during the formal education of a student--in a classroom setting. Professional development opportunities happen once the practitioner has graduated and is serving children and families and is designed to enhance their level of knowledge.
WHAT DOES A PARENT
Educators would contact you to share your family story--your unique perspective of living and loving a child with special needs--with a class, practitioner training, or conference. This might be in a lecture format, a panel discussion, or a small group question and answer session. There might also be the opportunity for mentoring a student--typically meeting one-on-one with the student to share your insights over the course of a semester or two. Parent consultants would have the option to sign up for the formats in which they are most comfortable and would be free to decline invitations.
IS THERE COMPENSATION?
We understand that your insights and your time are valuable so we offer modest honorariums for pre-professional trainings. Professional development is not funded through the State Improvement Grant so we cannot offer honorariums for this although oftentimes the event coordinator can find honorariums from other sources.
HOW WILL I KNOW
WHAT TO SAY AT THE EVENT?
Preferably the educator will contact you with ample notice (we suggest families are asked at least two weeks prior to the event) and will be able to provide you with clear directions about content. You should feel free to ask questions and clarify expectations. It is usually a good idea to touch base with the educator a couple of times before you speak so you feel comfortable and prepared.
I'M NERVOUS ABOUT
This is a common issue for all of us but be reminded that you will be talking about something you are an expert on--your family. You also have the option to choose which formats you want to participate on so if large groups are overwhelming, you can opt for panel discussions or small groups.
WHAT IF I HAVE PROBLEMS?
You should always feel free to contact the Waisman Center if you need help developing your story, connecting with the educator, etc.
HOW WILL MY FAMILY'S PRIVACY BE PROTECTED?
Families are asked to sign a release form giving permission for information about their family to be included in the directory. A cover statement will be included in the directory indicating that information about families is not to be copied or distributed without the written permission of the families involved.
PANELS: A panel brings together several presenters who each have a given amount of time to discuss his/her perspective on the topic.
physical setting of this kind of presentation is one where the presenter is
placed in front of an "audience" and given a length of time in which to share
This is typically an on-going relationship over a given period of time in which
one individual spends individual time with another sharing perspectives and
KNOW THE PURPOSE OF YOUR PRESENTATION: If you don't fully understand your topic, feel free to contact the faculty/event coordinator to get more defined parameters. It is their responsibility to guide you through what they want you to share.
IDEAS: Spend some time thinking about what you will say and feel free to
use an outline, detailed notes, index cards, etc. Most people feel more comfortable
when they have written information in front of them.
In general, presentations should have three parts--
USE YOUR OWN STYLE:
Some people feel comfortable ad-libbing and spontaneously sharing jokes/anecdotes
and otehrs like to stick to a prepared script. Adopt whatever will make you
feel most comfortable but do remember to engage your audience with a clear,
audible voice and regular eye contact. It might help to practice in front of
an audience of family or friends before your actual presentation.
EMOTIONS: Especially in cases when we discuss personal issues, like our
children and families, emotions can surface. Feel free to tell the audience
that your topic is difficult, that you might need a break to gather yourself
or that some topics are outside of what you are comfortable sharing. You have
YOUR AUDIENCE: Because your audience will be either pre-professionals (college/university
students) or early intervention professionals, it is highly likely that they
will already have an investment in your topic and will be active audience members.
Remember to leave an opportunity for them to ask you questions while also being
clear with yourself on what topics you're willing to answer and what topics
you'd rather discuss after the presentation in a one-on-one connversation. Don't
feel bad if you don't know an answer--just be honest.
If you would like
to talk to someone at the Waisman Center about your presentation, feel free
to contact us at (608) 263-5947.