What is Special Instruction? Providing Families with Information, Skills and Support
This is the third in a four-part series exploring “What is Special Instruction?”
Here is what the Division of Early Childhood has to say. in the position statement “The Role of Special Instruction in Early Intervention.”
- The designing of learning environments and activities that promote the child’s acquisition of skills in a variety of developmental areas including cognitive processes and social interactions,
- Curriculum planning including the planned interaction of personnel, materials, and time and space, that leads to achieving outcomes in the child’s individualized family service plan,
- Providing families with information, skills, and support related to enhancing the skill development of the child; and
- Working with the child to enhance the child’s development
Special Instruction is an Early Intervention Service that provides families with information, skills and support to help their child’s development
Let’s explore the part of special instruction that includes, “providing families with information, skills, and support related to enhancing the skill development of the child.”
Each family I meet is different, but each is the same. These families may have different ways of going about it, but each family that has willingly entered our voluntary Early Intervention program has one thing in common. They all care very deeply about their children.
They want what is best. They want to do what they think is best.
Now, what we as professionals think is best may not always be the same as what the family thinks. What is important to us as therapists may not be in line 100% with what is important to them.
However, one of our jobs as a special instructor is still to provide families with information and skills and support. Notice it did not say manipulation and guilt. We are called to provide information, skills and support to enhance skill development of their child.
Special Instructors Provide Families with Information
This may be broad. Giving the mom information on how to apply for disability income indirectly serves to enhance the skill development of her child. If mom has the money to pay for gas to go to doctor appointments, the child will have medical care, and his development will be enhanced. Supporting mom in searching for quality childcare will enhance the child’s skill development. And so on, and so forth.
Information I provide my families sometimes comes in the way of handouts related to the developmental milestone we are working on. It might include handouts related to their child’s diagnosis too. It depends on the families “thirst” for knowledge as to how much I give them.
Special Instructors Provide Families with Skills
There are so many little skills that may come naturally to some parents, but may not. Things like how to increase tummy time while decreasing crying time. Other things include language stimulating activities, how to use parentese, how to provide the right sensory stimulation, or how to read distress cues in their child.
Special Instructors Provide Families with Support
Support looks like being there to talk about stressors, offering encouragement, or maybe just listening to what is going on with their child. These families are often going through difficult experiences related to their child’s health and they need someone to listen who understands what they are going through.
What are other ways that you provide information, skills and support to your parents?