I am continuing my book review this week, talking about chapter 2 of Parents and Professionals Partnering for Children with Disabilities. The subject of this chapter is on relationships and the “hidden lyrics” that parents and professionals bring to the dance of partnership. Each brings their own unspoken fears, dreams, and experiences to the relationship. Those “lyrics” can influence the relationship. And if everyone knows there are hidden lyrics up front–if everyone is looking for the cues that will unlock the mysteries of history and hopes and dreams, then we can begin to truly dance as partners.
Relationships compel us to take time to consider what might be below the surface.–Fialka, page 38.
The second chapter in this marvelous book presents multiple scenarios of the assessment and IEP process. Each scenario is told from the perspective of a parent. Each parent brings their own hopes and dreams to the table. Their “hidden lyrics” are an important part of the process, but the process can be intimidating and overwhelming and sometimes the parents have anxiety that they will not be able to express what they want for their child.
After the parent perspective, the same scenario is shown through the eyes of the professional.
The case of “Rachel” was different from my experience. In this scenario, each professional spent 1:1 time with the parent explaining the report. In my experience, it has been more of a long, tag team effort in which everyone says their piece. Some even read their report word for laborious word which can be excruciatingly long and also overwhelming for the parent.
The second chapter had multiple opportunities for reflection. The parent perspective reinforced my knowledge that parents have dreams for their child. They see the whole child and it can be disturbing to have such a hyperfocus on one element of a child’s true self.
I loved this “promise” from the professional side:
I will look at your child’s problems, but I will still see the wonder of him.
The imagery of hidden lyrics reminds us that we bring so much to this partnership and that we often have to work together to reveal all that we carry to the process. And we must always remember to see the wonder in the children we serve.
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