Collaborating with Families Who Have Children with Disabilities

by Mariana Galipeau, July 2015

900 words

3 pages


1. Teachers should be aware of many challenges, which they might face while working with families who have children with special needs. Teachers should understand that collaborating with parents of children with disabilities might require much patience and the ability to empathize with emotional problems these families have to cope with. While some parents might be ready to collaborate, others might appear mistrustful and unwilling to accept teaching programs suggested by professionals. Teachers are supposed to be able to avoid confrontations with families and build a partnership with them.

2. Relationships with families should be based on understanding and trust. In order to strengthen trust and collaborate successfully with families, it is necessary for teachers to be optimistic, encouraging, and supportive. Being well-informed about disabilities of children, providing a positive environment for children, trying to understand parents’ point of view, staying in regular contact with parents are important steps in building a collaborative relationship with families. I think that it is essential for teachers to be good listeners, since parents of children with disabilities might need to share their concerns and hopes, discuss their children’s development and learning progress.


1. Parents of children with special needs may go through a wide range of emotional states. They are likely to feel stressed, angry, frustrated, depressed, since they have to deal with the loss of expectations and hopes for their children. They tend to experience the feeling of grief. At different points of their children’s development they may feel denial, guilt, anger, anxiety, or fear. However, there are also parents who are hopeful and attempt to focus on positive perspectives, which their children can have. It is necessary to be particularly sensitive and careful while communicating with parents experiencing grief. If I had to work with a parent experiencing depression, I would create a welcoming environment for a conversation with the parent, so that he/she could share his/her emotions and feel less isolated and hopeless. I would focus on positive achievements of the child and boost the parent’s optimism. I am of the opinion that it is important to support parents’ hopes and dreams when parents experience denial and have unrealistic expectations of their children with special needs. Parents who have hopes are stronger emotionally and more determined.

2. Parents of children with special needs frequently have to undertake a number of additional roles in order to provide a good environment for their children’s development. First of all, parents are supposed to be medical experts. In order to be able to provide their child with an adequate health care and plan for the child’s learning, it is crucial for parents to learn about their child’s disability as much as possible. While being informed about the medical condition of their child, parents will be able to collaborate with people involved in taking care of the child. Moreover, parents of children with disabilities are responsible for planning of their children’s future. They have to fulfill the role of a personal future planner. Furthermore, parents have …

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