Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

RP Products by Topic: Teaming and Collaboration

ECTA Center was charged with assisting the WWW: DEC and WWW: DEC Commissioners to revise the WWW: DEC Recommended Practices and with developing products that would promote the use of the Recommended Practices, and with providing intensive TA to assist states in implementing evidence-based practices.

ECTA Center Staff Contributors

from the DEC Recommended Practices on Teaming and Collaboration:

Educational programs and services for young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities, by their nature, always involve more than one adult. The quality of the relationships and interactions among these adults affects the success of these programs. Teaming and collaboration practices are those that promote and sustain collaborative adult partnerships, relationships, and ongoing interactions to ensure that programs and services achieve desired child and family outcomes and goals.

Teaming and Collaboration Checklists

  • This checklist includes steps and actions teams can take to ensure that families are included as full team members and are valued as experts who are considered vital to effective team functioning.

    All team members, including familiy members, are involved and engaged in various ways and to varying degrees over time. Families need to be supported to increase their level of involvement as comfort and trust build and as the team grows and learns together.

    The checklist indicators can be used by team members individually or together to determine whether true collaboration is taking place. The checklist rating scale can be used for a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practices were used during teaming activities.

  • This checklist includes examples of verbal and written communication skills for building team relationships needed to work together effectively and gather/convey vital information for providing services and supports for children and families.

    The checklist indicators can be used by team members to assess whether quality communication is taking place during all formal and informal team interactions (e.g., during intake, assessment, team meetings, and ongoing intervention interactions) and to develop a plan for any improvements that may be needed.

  • This checklist includes steps and actions team members can take to share and gain expertise in order to provide effective interventions that meet the unique needs of individual children and their families.

    A team that uses adult learning methods/teaching strategies to share knowledge and skills has a much better chance of achieving this outcome than any one team member working alone.

    The checklist indicators can be used by team members individually or together to determine if they are using a variety of opportunities, both formal and informal, to focus on growing and learning together.

Teaming and Collaboration Illustrations

  • The "IFSP" Video

    This video shows an IFSP (could also apply to IEP) meeting gone wrong. In watching, pay careful attention to how the family was not a full team member. Compare your observations to the second half of the video in which many points of poor team functioning are explained, including the parents role.

    Video courtesy WWW: Illinois Early Intervention Training Program.

    Bri IFSP Video Chapter 4.3

    The first 3 minutes of this video illustrates "Families are full team members."

    Video courtesy WWW: Illinois Early Intervention Training Program.

  • The "IFSP" Video

    This video shows an IFSP (could also apply to IEP) meeting gone wrong. In watching, pay careful attention to how the family was not a full team member. Compare your observations to the second half of the video in which many points of poor team functioning are explained, including the parents role.

    Video courtesy WWW: Illinois Early Intervention Training Program.

    Conversation with Examples of Attending and Active Listening

    A conversation between two early childhood team members using active listening.

    Video courtesy WWW: CONNECT at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.

    Everybody Loves Raymond Uses Active Listening

    A Clip from the TV series Everybody Loves Raymond that illustrates active-reflective listening practice.

    Video courtesy WWW: Parent Effectiveness Training.

  • What Intervention Can (and Should) Look Like

    In this second of a three-part series, three service providers describe coaching and mentoring and give examples of their use in visits with family team members.

    Video courtesy WWW: Virginia Early Intervention Professional Development Center.

    Adult Learning Principle #4: Active Practice and Participation are Key!
    Go to: Active Practice and Participation are Key!

    Part of a series on Adult Learning Principles, this describes how adults need time to practice a new skill. Includes 2 examples highlighting different approaches with different results.

    Courtesy WWW: Virginia Early Intervention Professional Development Center.

    Adult Learning Principle #5: Feedback is How We Grow
    Go to: Feedback is How We Grow

    Part of a series on Adult Learning Principles, this describes how adults need time to practice a new skill. Includes two examples highlighting different approaches with different results.

    Courtesy WWW: Virginia Early Intervention Professional Development Center.

    How to Run an Effective Team Meeting

    Practical information on the importance of team meetings and what a good team meeting looks like and contains.

    Video courtesy WWW: Rasheed Ogunlaru.

Teaming and Collaboration Practice Guides for Practitioners

  • Team members frequently communicate with one another. Sometimes this communication is among practitioners and other times the communication is between practitioners and family members. The communication can include emails, text messages, notes, or reports. Other times the communication includes as phone calls, face-to-face meetings with one person, or during group meetings. All of these communications involve verbal and non-verbal messages or actions to make sure others understand the intent of a message. A few simple things can help ensure communication attempts are successful.

  • Early childhood intervention teams include practitioners from different disciplines working together to provide the most effective interventions to help a child and family. Team members have unique skills, abilities, knowledge, and experiences that when shared among one another make for a stronger whole. There are many opportunities for team members to assist each other to expand their knowledge and learn to use new practices. This practice guide includes different things team members can do to actively and meaningful support other members to grow and learn.

  • Families are full team members when they participate in all aspects of assessment, evaluation, IFSP/IEP planning, and implementation of the plan. This is important because families are the most knowledgeable about child and family life and have much to contribute to child and family interventions. It is important to value and incorporate family input throughout the entire assessment and intervention process. This practice guide includes different things practitioners can do to actively and meaningfully involve family members in assessment, planning, and intervention practices.

Teaming & Collaboration Practice Guides for Families

  • As a member of your child's team, you and the other members will have frequent opportunities to communicate back and forth. Sometime this might be in writing using emails, text messages, or other things such as a written report. Other times, this will happen face to face during a home visit or a meeting like the IFSP/IEP annual review. When you communicate with another person (talk or write) you are sending a message. You want the words you use to say what you mean so that the other person understands them and you move forward together. This practice guide includes suggestions and ideas for face-to-face verbal communication.

  • Early childhood staff that work with your family work as a team. YOU are an important member of this team. You are the most knowledgeable person about your child, your family, and what you want to see happen to help your child learn and grow. As a team member, you should help with your child’s assessment and evaluation and share ideas about what you want to work on with the rest of the team. You should be involved in writing your child’s plan (IEP or IFSP).Your interactions with other team members provide opportunities to try out ideas, make suggestions, and provide feedback about what is or is not working. This practice guide includes different things that can help you be actively and meaningfully involved with other team members.

  • Working with practitioners provides you many opportunities to share information and ideas about your child’s likes and interests. You know best about your family and the many things you have done to help your child learn and grow and what you would like help with now. You also have knowledge and life experiences that other team members may not have. You have a lot to contribute to help other team members learn about your child and family. This practice guide includes ideas and strategies that will help you share information with team members.

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Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

  • CB 8040
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040
  • phone: 919.962.2001
  • fax: 919.966.7463
  • email: ectacenter@unc.edu

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P120002 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

  • FPG Child Development Institute
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