November 15, 2021 | KY-SPIN

[00:00:00] Kellie Smith: Good morning everyone. Thank you for joining us as we kick off Kentucky SPIN’s, uh, Family Engagement Celebration for the entire month of November. This is the first of four webinars that we will be hosting. Uh, If you have obviously registered for today, there’s nothing you have to do to join th...

[00:00:00] Kellie Smith: Good morning everyone. Thank you for joining us as we kick off Kentucky SPIN’s, uh, Family Engagement Celebration for the entire month of November. This is the first of four webinars that we will be hosting. Uh, If you have obviously registered for today, there’s nothing you have to do to join the others. You can join them with the links that you joined today, um, and have access to all of those.

[00:00:34] And if you aren’t sure of the dates and times, we, uh, if just wanna reach to us or send us a note in the chat, we will be happy to send you the flyers so that you can get those scheduled on your calendar.

[00:00:47] Uh, in speaking of the chat box, uh, you’re gonna have a chat box or maybe even a questions box, uh, to the right, uh, hand of your screen in that white [00:01:00] box.

[00:01:00] You also have a handout, uh, section in that box. And in that section you have the PowerPoint, uh, for today’s presentation. You do not have to worry about downloading it. If you don’t have time, it will be sent to you in a follow up email.

[00:01:18] Um, so before we get started, I would like to ask that you give us grace as we go throughout this presentation. You can guarantee that, uh, my dogs will probably bark, um, because they do anytime I’m talking to people. Uh, we also know that technology does what it wants to, the majority of the time. Uh, so if we have technical difficulties, which we do fairly often, uh, and you can better believe that, uh, if I or Rhonda have anything to do with it, we usually have some sort of technical troubles.

[00:01:52] So please just, uh, bear with us as we go throughout this training. I hope you learn something new, uh, [00:02:00] as we- as we go through this, or, uh, maybe just- it may bring something to your remembrance that maybe you haven’t thought about in quite some time.

[00:02:10] So, uh, like I said, today we’re talking about collaborative communication. Um, and my name is Kellie Smith. Uh, I am the Assistant Director at Kentucky SPIN. I have been with Kentucky SPIN for, uh, next month will make six years. Um, I absolutely love my job. I love everything about it, uh, especially the people and the families that I work with.

[00:02:35] Um, another thing is that, uh, when my son, who has a traumatic brain injury and he is 25, uh, when he was in school, I was not familiar with Kentucky SPIN or, you know, even, you know, before then obviously I wasn’t (beeping) with Kentucky SPIN and I apologize, I’m- I’m on (laughs) I’m dialing in and I have another call coming in, [00:03:00] so if it cuts out, you know why so was sorry about that.

[00:03:05] Um, but I wasn’t familiar with Kentucky SPIN. And, um, I always tell families that had I known about Kentucky SPIN, I like to think that his life would look different than it does now.

[00:03:21] Uh, because of Kentucky SPIN we have a- we have a wealth of information. We have so many community partners, um, that we really are an asset to families and most families are not familiar with Kentucky SPIN. We also say that we’re the best kept secret- secret, but we don’t wanna be a secret. We definitely want to take any information that we can uh, out into the highways and the hedges and, uh, give this information to all people so that we can be assistance for all- with all those with, uh, disabilities, their families and the professionals that serve them. [00:04:00]

[00:04:00] So if it- this is your first time being at a Kentucky SPIN event, uh, of any kind, I’d like to tell you just a little bit about us. Uh, so Kentucky SPIN, uh, that stands for Kentucky Special Parent Involvement Network, and we are a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization. Uh, the- our mission is to link families and individuals with disabilities to all the valuable resources in their community, uh, and statewide that are gonna help them and enable them to live productive and fulfilling lives.

[00:04:34] Kentucky SPIN is the Statewide Parent Training and Information Project, or PTI, for the state of Kentucky. We are funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Uh, and that brings with it training, information, and support for children and youth with all types of disabilities, uh, and that is diagnosed or undiagnosed, uh, birth through age 26, their parents, [00:05:00] families, and like I said, the professionals that serve them. Uh, we have been the State Parent Training and Information Center since 1988 when Kentucky first received a PPI.

[00:05:13] So one of the things that kind of makes us different from some of the, uh, other agencies and organizations that you might work with is that the majority of our board of directors, and all of our staff and consultants are either an individual with a disability, uh, or a- a parent or family member of someone with a disability.

[00:05:33] So when you call Kentucky SPIN, you’re not only getting, you know, information from a professional, but you’re also getting that information from someone who has, and continues to walk in those shoes.

[00:05:47] So it’s much easier to tell you what we don’t do than what we, uh, than what we do. Uh, we don’t act as attorneys or advocates. We don’t represent families. We don’t give legal advice. [00:06:00] But we empower families to effectively advocate for their children. And we do that in a variety of ways. So we may do that, you know, through trainings such as this one, uh, one-on-one assistance. Um, just all kinds of different ways. There’s all kinds of different ways that we can help these families, uh, and empower them.

[00:06:19] We also provide peer-to-peer support to help families access that- those needed, uh, the needed information and resources that I was talking about.

[00:06:31] So, jumping right in to com- um, collaborative commun- communication. So, what is it? Uh, so collaborative means working joint with jointly with others, and communication is a technique for expressing ideas effectively. And so when we say collaborative communication, uh, we are saying that it is, uh, to work jointly with [00:07:00] others while effectively expressing ideas.

[00:07:04] And, um, I just wanted to insert here that if you have ever been, especially to say an IEP meeting or something of that nature, you know, sometimes you can leave those meetings or- and- and feel kind of bewildered. Um, I never left one of those meetings where I didn’t pull over on the side of the road and cry. Every single time I did it and I thought to myself, “I should have said this”, or “I should have done that”. Uh, this didn’t go the way I wanted it to, and that was because I didn’t know, um, maybe how to communicate as effectively as I- as I should have, or- or, you know, could have had I had that training. Um, so I don’t ever want families to feel that way.

[00:07:54] Um, and so this presentation about collaborative communication is a very near and dear [00:08:00] to my heart.

[00:08:03] So we’re gonna start with, uh, some communication basics. The foundation to all good communication can be summed up in this one quote: “First seek to understand, then to be understood.” Uh, this quote is by Dr. Covey, who is the author of several books, and one is a international best seller and it is titled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

[00:08:35] So basically, uh, it’s important to understand, obviously, uh, you want to understand where the person you’re talking to is coming from, what their intentions are, and really focus on what they’re saying. And then you, once you’re accepting of that, then you try to become understood, you know, for them to come to the same understanding that you have.

[00:08:59] [00:09:00] Um, in regard to, you know, listening and paying attention, we’re gonna talk a little bit more in just a moment about listening skills.

[00:09:11] And so you can set the tone before you even speak a word, and I’m sure we all know that. Um, especially if we’re parents and teenagers, right? Um, the way you approach someone and the situa- and- and the way you approach a situation can have a huge impact on the outcome of the situation. Even if it doesn’t go the way you want it to, it can have an impact on the overall result.

[00:09:37] So communication happens in several different ways. Approximately 10% of communication is spoken words, 30% is tone of voice, and 60% is body language. So, uh, you might, um, an example might be is if you say kind things, but you roll your eyes at [00:10:00] the same time, so the person’s not gonna remember the words that came out of your mouth. They’re gonna remember your facial expression and the rolling of your eyes.

[00:10:12] So if we look at this slide, we’re looking at different types of body language and we understand that every action, even silence, is a communication. So you have this guy standing here in this suit, and would anybody like to put in the questions box and the chat box what they think they’re seeing by the different types of body language that they see on their screen.

[00:10:36] If I could just- I’ll pause for just a second for you guys to interact.

[00:10:50] “Confidence” and someone says, “I can see a slideshow, but I don’t hear anyone talking.” Someone says, “Rich.” [00:11:00] So keep, well, I guess everyone else can hear me talking. So, um, Rhonda is on with us to help, uh, troubleshoot. Rhonda, can you reach out to Susan and try to help her figure out what the issue might be?

[00:11:16] Um, the guy in the suit – “Powerful”. He does seem powerful.

[00:11:22] What about the woman on the right side? What do you think- what do you think her actions are saying?

[00:11:31] Oh, she- Rhonda, she says she can hear now.

[00:11:34] So someone feels like she’s upset. Someone else feels like she’s excited.

[00:11:39] What about um, the guy at the bottom? I seem to- (laughs) I seem to look like him. (laughs) Okay, and somebody else said “confidence”, “celebratory”, “defeated”, “guarded”. “He’s having a bad day.” Someone said, “She probably just got a job.” And then talking about [00:12:00] the- the guy at the bottom says he looks stressed. So, and those are things we don’t have to see anything we- we don’t have to have those things captioned, but their actions and their facial expressions for those that you can see, say a whole lot about them.

[00:12:16] And again, we have that same power.

[00:12:24] Okay, so the importance of listening, and I told you we were gonna talk just a little bit about this. Um, so the key point here is to listen twice as much as you talk for effective communication. The key word there is “effective”. Uh, so we’re taught all of our lives that communication is, you know, 50 50.

[00:12:45] Um, first you talk and then I talk, and then while you’re talking, you know, it’s my turn again and you know, then it’s gonna be my turn again. But while you’re talking, I’m thinking of how I’m going to [00:13:00] respond to you. Or maybe I’m thinking about, you know, what I’m gonna do after work. Um, or making a mental grocery list, or maybe I’m thinking about, you know, what you’re saying and I’m thinking, “Well, how I’m gonna respond to that?”

[00:13:14] And maybe, you know, maybe you say something and I’m automatically, you know, my flags go up and defenses go up, and I’m like, “Well, I disagree with that. So I’m planning my argument in my head.” All kinds of things can be going on while you’re listening to that person. You’re not listening, you’re thinking. When you’re doing those things, you’re not paying any- you’re not really paying attention to what they’re saying. You’re not actively listening, you’re thinking.

[00:13:44] Uh, so communication is not just about talking. It’s about really paying attention to what that other person is saying. Being really intentional about focusing on the words that they’re saying. Um, you know, and trying to understand [00:14:00] where they’re coming from and that kind of focus on the conversation is called active listening.

[00:14:06] And so, like I said, um, for effective communication, you want to listen twice as much as you talk.

[00:14:18] So, um, as you can see on this slide, the very first element of active listening is to be attentive. Uh, people are not actively listening when they’re jumping to conclusions about what the other person really means or what they’re saying. Uh, they may become judgemental because they don’t agree with what that person is saying, like I said, a few minutes ago. And sometimes people find themselves just shutting down.

[00:14:44] Uh, but the- it’s important to really try to keep listening a- so that you can be sure that you haven’t misunderstood what they’re saying. And one way of making sure that you understand what that person means is to repeat it back to them in your own words [00:15:00] or paraphrase it.

[00:15:01] So you wanna be careful not to overdo it when it comes to paraphrasing. Cause act- you know, you don’t want, uh, people to become annoyed when every sentence they say, you say, “So what I hear you saying is this.” Um, but you wanna be able to sum up the- you know, the conversation, um, in a way that you understand it, just so you know that you have a clear understanding of what that conversation was.

[00:15:29] And so be aware it’s not just of their body language, but also your own. Pay attention to your posture, your facial expressions. And I’m one of those people that my facial expressions are hard to control. That happened before I even realized it. I know many, many women who are as animated as I am in their face.

[00:15:52] Um, I’ve seen Facebook memes talking about how their face needs (unintelligble) . Um, it’s all over the place and we need to be [00:16:00] really, really intentional about what our face says. Um, it’s not just the’s coming out of your mouth and our body language. So, um, you al- but, uh, let me answer this. You’re going to want to be careful, uh, when you use eye contact with someone. You know, be aware of- of the situation because some cultures, um, eye contact is considered rude or offensive. Um, so, you know, take your cues from the person you’re talking to. If they’re looking you in the eye, then it’s gonna be okay for you to look them in the eye. But, you know, really just you’re- you- it’s- it’s a give and take with all communication and eye language definitely falls into that category.

[00:16:52] And so these illustrations are cute, uh, but they speak volumes. Um, [00:17:00] I look at this comic of this- this fellow reading his newspaper and this woman saying, “You can stop saying ‘uh-huh’, I stopped talking to you an hour ago.” This reminds me of me and my husband. Of course, it’s kinda flipped. Um, I have mastered the art of saying, “uh-huh” and pretending to pay attention when I’m really not.

[00:17:21] And that’s horrible thing to even, uh, to even admit but it is very true. Um, and sometimes I will respond. I actually did it just last night. I responded to something and he said I didn’t even say anything. Um, but because he had stopped talking for a minute, I thought it was time for me to give some kind of response.

[00:17:42] So, um, the second one says, “I’m sorry, were you talking to me?” Um, and that has happened more times than not, uh, in- in my house. And like I said, that one kind of- kind of, you know, illustrates me and my husband both, [00:18:00] but that’s- that’s not good. That’s not good. These- these illustrations are cute, but they speak volumes.

[00:18:07] Um, and when you’re talking to someone and they don’t- aren’t even aware you’re talking to them or if they respond to something that you know, and when you’re not even speaking. It’s not okay. It’s not okay. We wanna be heard. Uh, most of the time we aren’t speaking just to say words. Uh, there’s a meaning behind it.

[00:18:29] So we want to be sure that we’re respectful and that we’re- we’re, like I said, again, really intentional about paying attention to the person that we’re communicating with.

[00:18:42] And I’m gonna pause for just a second. Amber, I see someone maybe has their hand raised or some questions to ask.

[00:18:51] Amber Hamm: Um, I just sent you a message, Kellie. I’m actually not seeing anyone else’s comments besides [00:19:00] Jenny’s.

[00:19:01] Rhonda Logsdon: Okay. So, um, I am on this end, uh, the comments and I do know, uh, someone’s having trouble. I was responding back, uh, about the comments. Um, that they can see comments, but you cannot, um, comment. Um, so that’s why, and for some reason it’s one of those quirky tech things, and with this program. If you can’t do that, no worries. Just, uh, participate in the questions area cuz we’re keeping an eye on the questions and the chat.

[00:19:34] And I’m not able- Let me see, Ashley, uh, Danielle has her hand raised. If you could, I will send you, um, if you could send it through the questions or the chat, um, and just kinda let us know, um, how I could help. Cause I’m monitoring that on the side here. So, um, but I do apologize about that, about being able to comment, [00:20:00] uh, in the chat. Uh, it’s one of those lovely tech things that each program has its glitches. And for some people it works. Some it doesn’t.

[00:20:09] Amber Hamm: And if you do see at the bottom, uh, if you can change where you do type your question or comment to “All, Entire Audience”, we will be able to see those comments in the box.

[00:20:25] Kellie Smith: Thank you all. I appreciate you, (laughs) and like I said, uh, thank you for- thank you for your grace. Um, as I told you before, you can guarantee, if Rhonda and I are involved, there’s gonna be, uh, (laughs) there’s probably gonna be some issues. Um-

[00:20:47] Rhonda Logsdon: And uh, and I do appreciate, and Ashley, I just saw, no worries. So, um, Ashley’s good, too. We’re all good. Hey, we’re a work in progress together, which is what I love. (laughs)

[00:20:59] Amber Hamm: Kellie, [00:21:00] you do have a question that just popped up.

[00:21:03] Kellie Smith: Okay.

[00:21:04] Amber Hamm: “Can you explain how Collaborative Communication Partners with ARC meetings?”

[00:21:12] Kellie Smith: Uh, actually I can, and- but I would like to save that until we go all the way through, so we can kind of put some things together.

[00:21:26] Okay. So we’re gonna move on to the next slide.

[00:21:31] Um, so collaborative communication values and respects the opinions and perspectives and rights of both parties or all parties involved.

[00:21:50] Okay, so when people are, um, you know- Like I just said, and this kind of piggybacks on that, uh, collaborative [00:22:00] communication encourages, uh, both parents and professionals to be able to give honest feelings. So if people are not giving open, honest input, others are kinda left to draw their own conclusions, and those conclusions may be far from the truth and can result in unnecessary conflict.

[00:22:20] Um, and then you have mutual respect, which occurs when everyone at the table acknowledges that each and every per- person has critical information to share. And I cannot express enough that, um, you’re, as a parent, you have so much important information to share. Uh, and it’s important, you know, because teachers, you know, and this kind of goes hand in hand with the question about the- the ARC or IEP meetings. Um, everyone needs to recognize [00:23:00] each individual person’s, um, role at that table. And that goes for an ARC uh, slash IP meeting. In Kentucky it’s synonymous. Um, or if you’re in a doctor’s office. Uh, I think we have time for me to- to share a- a brief story and I’m gonna kinda, uh, you know, condense it a little bit and if you’ve heard it before, I apologize.

[00:23:27] Um, but there was one time that my son was, uh, and- and like I said, my son is 25 and he has a traumatic brain injury and, um, he was, uh, prescribed, um, a medication and at the same doctor’s visit, we were then told, uh, that he needed to go to Lexington and have some testing done. And, uh, we said, okay, so, um, we started the medication.

[00:23:59] It was a [00:24:00] seizure medication and I did know some background, uh, on that medication. And, uh, when- after he started taking it, I guess it was after, uh, he had been taking it a while, but the side effects didn’t really start until, you know, probably a month in or more. Um, but he became extremely violent. And my son is not violent at all.

[00:24:30] Uh, he’s- he’s- he’s five foot seven, he’s 135 pounds. He’s a little bitty guy. Um, and he is just- he is not violent. And it- it came to a point one night that my husband, uh, had to restrain him. And, um, he- my- my husband, you know, is six feet tall and well over 300 [00:25:00] pounds. And my husband comes upstairs and he is like, “We have to do something because if he gets mad, he will really, really hurt someone.”

[00:25:10] Um, and so that, you know, we were very concerned and so we stopped that medication. We knew that, you know, it could, it- it could be dangerous to stop any kind of medication, uh, you know, so quickly. Um, but I- I couldn’t let him go to school and get mad and- and hurt someone. And so I was very concerned. And so I made a call, um, and people can agree or they can disagree, but that was a call I made as a parent to stop that medication.

[00:25:42] And, uh, so three months later we go back to the doctor and, um, they asked, you know, “How’s the medication going?” And I let ’em know that I stopped giving it to him. And so they immediately became very [00:26:00] defensive. “Well, why did you stop?” I told them why- why I stopped. And they’re like, “Well, when did you stop?”, “How did you stop?”, you know, “Why didn’t you call us?” And maybe those are things I should have done. I can’t go back in time, I was doing, as a parent, what I felt was right. They were very upset with me. Um, and they weren’t trying to- to talk it out. Everything I would say they would shut me down, uh, the doctor and- and the nurse president in the office. They would just shut me down.

[00:26:28] And, uh, it was very, very hard. And I was- I was really stressed out and near tears because, you know, I was doing what I thought was right as a parent. And they’re telling me basically, you know, how awful it was, what I did. And I wouldn’t have done, you know, obviously never done anything to hurt him.

[00:26:46] Um, so we get- we get through that and it’s- it’s not, it’s still not an easy, you know, um, time trying to, you know, talk to ’em because they’re mad at me. Um, [00:27:00] and I’m, you know, just kind of freaked out and panicked. And then they asked me about some- the tests that they had ordered. I’m like, “Yeah, yeah. I- I took him” and um, they’re like, “Well, we, there’s no record of you being there.”

[00:27:18] And I said, “I- what are you talking about? I went, we had to wait forever because they only had one machine, blah, blah, blah. It was in the ER. We were there all day.” No, there’s no record and because they were already mad at me, they went ahead and made that judgment that I had not taken him and that I was lying to them.

[00:27:39] And that- absolutely nothing was further from the truth. I took him, I mean, everything, you know, we were there all day, just like I said. Um, and then the nurse called me a bad parent, and so she was going to call Social Services for medical neglect and [00:28:00] I came un- glued. And of course, uh, as parents and professionals, we can probably all imagine, you know, how- how we’re gonna feel if someone attacks our- our parenting abilities.

[00:28:14] And then, you know, they’re not- they’re not listening to me, they’re not, you know, I was talking to ’em and they’re just not listening to me. Um, and it was so hard. My son was terrified. He was scared to death because we were, uh, we were about three hours from home seeing this doctor. And my son is like, “My mom is going to jail and I don’t know how I’m gonna get home.”

[00:28:36] That was his only concern was- he wasn’t worried about mom going to jail, he was worried about how he was gonna get home when Mom went to jail. Uh, cause he was convinced that was gonna happen. That me and this- this woman were gonna- we’re gonna roll and I was going to jail.

[00:28:51] And so, I mean, how do you think that visit turned out? Um, I- I can say, um, I, you [00:29:00] know, I- I found something to prove that I had been there, um, and kept so- Social Services out of my life that day, um, which was great for me, but you know, that was r- a really, really hard barrier. And so we’ll talk a little bit more about barriers in just a little bit.

[00:29:19] So, but I’m just gonna kinda leave this there, if you can imagine how the communication was in that meeting after those two events at this one doctor’s appointment.

[00:29:32] And, let’s see, I’m gonna move on to the next slide. Um, and then I’ll- I’ll pick up that story here in- in just a few minutes.

[00:29:47] Uh, but when parents and educators communicate collaboratively, they can develop a partnership, and that’s really the way it should be viewed, is an actual partnership that is focused on what is [00:30:00] best for the child.

[00:30:02] Uh, you can still have differences of opinion. You don’t have to always agree with one another, but you can always give each other respect because that’s a choice. A hard one to make sometimes, like when somebody called me a bad mother, I was not respectful, but that was a choice I made. Uh, I made that choice, you know, I can say, you know, that adrenaline took over or that, you know, I let my emotions get the best of me, but, you know, in the give and take of it all, I made a choice to- to behave the way I did, and at that point it was no longer child focused.

[00:30:40] Uh, when we were in the heat of that argument, nobody was focused on my son. I was focused on what she had said and was thinking about me, and she was focused on what I was saying and was thinking about her in that moment.

[00:30:58] And so as parents [00:31:00] and educators, professionals and individuals, our goals should always be the same, and that is to help our children, um, or to help ourselves have successful outcomes and the best outcomes occur when parents and professionals or educators can be- truly be partners in achieving that goal.

[00:31:30] And so we can all agree that communication between parents and professionals, or between individuals and professionals is important, but who is it the most important to? It’s the most important to the child or the individual involved. Um, more so than anything, keeping that child the main focus is going to ensure the best possible outcome, and we can’t let personalities deter us from developing those strong [00:32:00] relationships.

[00:32:03] So barriers to communication.

[00:32:08] So some common communication barriers are a negative history, so it’s important to not let the past hinder the current situation that you’re dealing with. Then emotional responses. Uh, emotions are natural responses to situations, but they can have a really negative impact on communication. So it’s important, if at all possible, to check your emotions at the door to prevent miscommunication or a breakdown in communication.

[00:32:41] If things get too heated, if things get too emotional, don’t hesitate to say, “You know what? We need to stop right here. Things are getting a little crazy. Let’s come back at another day in time. Set an appointment to pick up the conversation” rather than, you know, acting like me and this [00:33:00] woman having it out. And I mean, to tell you, having it out, it was good for no one.

[00:33:08] Um, jargon and alphabet soup. Uh, so jargon and alphabet soup, uh, is really just using, um, for instance, agency-specific language or acronyms. Um, if you are in an ARC meeting or you know, an IEP meeting, whatever, if you are in one of those meetings and you’re hearing all these acronyms, um, or language that you didn’t go to college for, you know, you didn’t go- you didn’t major in this in school. So how can you understand what they’re talking about?

[00:33:41] Using that jargon and alphabet soup causes, uh, is- is really, uh, the wrong thing to do because everyone at the table may not understand that terminology or know what those acronyms mean. Especially, uh, in kind of [00:34:00] the world we operate in, everyone has acronyms, and some acronyms overlap from an- one agency to the next, but they have different meanings.

[00:34:09] So it’s very important that when you’re talking, you’re using friendly language that everyone can understand. And that you’re really just not trying to use, uh, those acronyms. Uh, I always tell people, spell it out for me like I’m a six year old. If a six year old can understand it, I might have some hope. So please, I- and I don’t mean it, I- I don’t mean it as a joke. Simplify it for me so that I can surely understand what you’re talking about.

[00:34:39] And then another thing is fear of intimidation. Uh, when someone feels intimidated, it’s hard to feel safe to communicate, uh, his or her or their child’s needs. Um, I could have easily been very fearful or intimidated when I was threatened with social [00:35:00] services.

[00:35:01] Um, I- I wasn’t, I was infuriated. Um, so, you know, I guess that shows there could be a wide range of things that can happen. Um, and I could have shut down, um, I could have become, you know, hysterical because of my, you know, of my son’s, uh, history with his brain injury, you know, before we knew what had happened to him.

[00:35:28] You know, I had- that was something that I had to go through. I had to go through the hospital calling social services because they didn’t know what had happened. I had to go through all sorts of- of experiences that were traumatic to me, which is what triggered my anger. Um, but it could just as easily caused me to have a complete breakdown.

[00:35:53] Um, so all of those things can become huge, huge barriers to communication. [00:36:00] If you can build up your own confidence by learning all you can before the meeting, uh, whatever kind of meeting you’re going to. You wanna get all your ducks in a row before you go. You can do this by hooking up with another parent, uh, doing some research. You can check out books at the library. Um, you can find out what workshops are available for, you know, from Kentucky SPIN or other agencies. Um, and we can also, oft- you know, often help connect you to those. Uh, and if you just don’t really know where to turn, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

[00:36:42] Um, and so it’s, you can’t build, and it would be very, uh, hard to expect to build a relationship with someone if you only see them, you know, a couple of times a year, once a year, twice a year. So it’s important to keep that communication going, [00:37:00] especially if you’re having concerns. So, um-

[00:37:05] Rhonda Logsdon: One of the ones, uh, Kellie, I was just gonna share that was put in the, uh, questions area that’s a suggestion was contacting your school district, which is, um, you know, and finding out more from them and learning from them, because that’s a great opportunity to take and it’ll help you build that relationship, too. They are a wealth of knowledge.

[00:37:27] Kellie Smith: Absolutely. Absolutely. And that is a wonderful suggestion.

[00:37:32] Um, and I’m sorry, I was just seeing some of the comments. Um, and so I want to- let me go ahead and- and wrap up my story about- about that- that issue. Um, It was- it was very- it could’ve been really, really hard to overcome, um, that barrier. Um, and- and I think about, you know, as I- as I just [00:38:00] said to you, you know, if you can’t build relationships with someone if you don’t see them and you don’t spend time with them, and the importance of keeping that communication going.

[00:38:09] So what happened is, I went home, and I mean, it- it took me a little while to calm down. Um, and I don’t mean that day. I mean, it- it took me a little while. But what I did is I put myself in her shoes and I thought about how hard it must have been for her to say that to me. And I thought about how much she must cared for my son to be willing to throw hands with this crazy woman, you know, (laughs) and that’s exactly what I was acting like. It was awful. And I was thinking how much she really must care about my son, um, in order to do that. So, that kind of reframed things for me. And- and I was able to look at her as someone who really just cared for my [00:39:00] child and was willing to do whatever it took, um, to make sure that he was cared for.

[00:39:06] And then that- that caused me to have a great deal of respect for her. And then she kind of went home and- and basically did the same thing. She evaluated how she spoke to me and the things that she said to me and how she behaved. And although our next few visits with one another, they were different. That ended up becoming not only a phenomenal personal, uh, relationship and a relationship, you know, with a provider and child, but we also be- developed a professional relationship.

[00:39:42] And she had me coming to her office and training her staff. And I can’t tell you what that meant to me, uh, knowing the history that- that she and I could- how it could have turned out. Um, and so, I [00:40:00] just want you to know that you- you can keep communication going. You do want to evaluate where the people you’re speaking with are coming from and- and what their thoughts are and, you know, really be critical and intentional about- about thinking through things like that, especially if there are areas of concern.

[00:40:22] So some, um, positive ways to keep in touch. Maybe send- send them a card, you know, a happy Monday. I love it when people send me something that says, “Happy Monday”. Um, because I usually am not thrilled on Monday morning. Um, and it makes me really happy for somebody to send me a smiley face and say, “Happy Monday”.

[00:40:45] Um, you may also, if you-

[00:40:48] Rhonda Logsdon: Oh wait, I don’t- (crosstalk)

[00:40:49] Kellie Smith: Sure.

[00:40:51] Rhonda Logsdon: I was just gonna tell you, I don’t think it’s- I don’t know if it froze or, I don’t think you’re on the next slide.

[00:40:58] Kellie Smith: Oh, I’m- I haven’t moved [00:41:00] on yet. I’m sorry. Um-

[00:41:04] Rhonda Logsdon: Sorry.

[00:41:05] Kellie Smith: And then you may also want to keep a notebook that goes back and forth, um, with your child’s school. Or you can- I’m sorry. It did freeze. I apologize, Rhonda. Um, so- you know, keep in touch between meetings. Um, stop in and say hello. You may even want to volunteer at your child’s, (missing audio) um, and I think you know, this- this falls, you know, here at the- you know, second on the list, but communicating concerns early, you do not want to, um – you do not want to, you know, write down a- a notebook full of things that are going wrong and then shoot ’em an, you know, an eight page email about all the things that are bad, you know, for the whole year. [00:42:00] Whenever you have a- a concern communicate that with them right away. Uh, cause you don’t want it to get outta hand.

[00:42:06] You don’t want it to fester like a- a splinter, uh, I don’t even know if that’s a word, but that’s what we always called it, um, growing up was, was fester. You don’t want it to get worse. Um, and you can do that by communicating those concerns early.

[00:42:26] And so, uh, setting the tone of the meeting. Bring a picture of the child. Some people might think that’s silly, but it’s not, especially if the child is too young to participate in those meetings or appointments. Bring up pictures so you can remain child focused. Ask each person to share something positive about that child, right from the beginning.

[00:42:49] And then also bring a treat. Everybody likes to eat. So brownies, cookies, just something to kinda right away, set that tone, [00:43:00] break the tension. Um, you know, food is a universal language and it’s a great one to share. Um, and, then obviously work toward resolving differences of opinion. So you can find creative ways.

[00:43:17] Um, and, um, just like Amber said on here, self-reflection is very important. Absolutely. And it’s, it’s critical to resolving differences of opinions.

[00:43:31] Okay, so this slide, we’re gonna talk for just a second about asking questions. So you want to be sure to ask questions in a way that you want them answered. So you can say, “Did my son do well today?” You know, check yes or no. That’s the kind of answer you’re gonna get. “Did my son do well today?”, “Yes.” You might get a “Very well” or you might get a “No, not at all”. Um, but it’s gonna be a very basic answer.[00:44:00]

[00:44:04] So you want to try to stay away from closed ended questions, but- “Did my son do well today?” Like I said, this is helpful if you only need a simple one word or two word response that just communicates a simple yes or no.

[00:44:22] So another way you can ask a question, um, again, keeping it- keeping the question, you know, keeping it in mind the way you would like them answered is, “What did my son do well today?” That answer requires an explanation. Um, you may want to know if your child had any behaviors or if there was any areas of concern.

[00:44:43] So you might even say, you know, “Was there anything today that I need to work on with my son?” Uh, just again, be- be conscientious of the way you want your question answered so that you ask it [00:45:00] appropriately.

[00:45:03] Um, so again, like I said before, “What did my son do well today?” This is the type of question to ask if you want some- you- if you want a detailed response. Those types of questions, both closed ended and open ended, are good. But again, just to reiterate, you wanna focus on which type of question serves your need, uh, for the information that you’re looking for.

[00:45:33] Um, for differences of opinion, use the acronym LUCK. So it’s funny that we talk about acronyms, but LUCK. So listen to and restate the other person’s opinion. Use a respectful tone. Compromise or change your opinion if necessary. And keep in mind it’s okay to change your mind. Uh, it’s okay to compromise, uh, in, you know, in certain [00:46:00] situations.

[00:46:01] And then know and state the reasons for opinions. So if you’re in an ARC meeting and you say, “My child needs a one on one aid”, you need to be able to back up that opinion with supporting evidence. You need to be able to state exactly why you feel the way you do.

[00:46:29] And then remember that the people you’re working with, they also care for your child. And I think about that woman every time there is a couple of different presentations where this story sparked, you know, it sparked in my memory and I think of her fondly. Um, but I, you know, it’s a- it’s a great thing that I think of her fondly because it could have turned out so much differently.

[00:46:55] Uh, but I really was able to focus on that she [00:47:00] behaved the way she did, she said the things she did, she acted the way she did ultimately because she cared for my son. We also, again, like I said before, we need to remember that parents have such important information to share. They’re a valuable part of the team.

[00:47:18] Um, and often parental input gets really overlooked or parents are at a table or at a meeting just because, you know, they’re required to be, but their opinions, um, or perspectives maybe aren’t valued like they should be. But a parent knows their child better than anyone. They know their child inside out.

[00:47:40] They’re that one constant that’s not gonna go away. Once you become a child’s parent, you don’t un become a child’s parent. Um, and- and everyone needs to recognize that role that parents play. And then you can also have a big impact on [00:48:00] collaborative communication. And this is- this is speaking specifically to parents.

[00:48:04] Uh, have that confidence. Um, you have that power. You- you have such an impact on the- the communication between yourself and professionals. Uh, like I’m instructing you to take cues from the people you’re working with. They also will take cues from you.

[00:48:30] So, uh, this- this presentation is, you know, it’s kinda summed up here. Coming together is the beginning. Working together for a common goal is progress. And good collaborative communication is a success. And I’m looking at this and I realize that when we say to this presentation, some things got changed, so we’ll fix that.

[00:48:53] Um, but the content is the same- is the same. Coming together is the beginning. Working [00:49:00] together for a common goal is progress and good collaborative communication is success.

[00:49:07] Rhonda Logsdon: And not to worry Kellie on the, uh, PDF that everyone will access, uh, through the handouts and through the other. It’s not like that. It’s just when we converted it to be able to show it, guys. So sorry.

[00:49:21] Kellie Smith: Perfect. Perfect. Thank you. And so we have inclu- included, um, some links for you. And I know these links have also been shared in the- in, um, the chat box or questions box. I’m not sure which one you have or if you have both. Um, but these are some resources that we have.

[00:49:38] They’re also going to be, um, in your follow-up email. Uh, so we’ve given you plenty of opportunities to access them. Uh, these are fabulous, fabulous resources. Um, and then finally, um, I just would like to stop before we talk about, uh, [00:50:00] evaluations to see if anyone has any questions or comments. Amber, do you see anything?

[00:50:13] Amber Hamm: I am not.

[00:50:15] Okay. Um, let’s see if someone says here, I don’t see the resources, I think they’re being added again as we speak. And then, like I said, they’re also going to be in your follow-up email. And then, um, let’s see, if I go back a slide to show you, um, when you receive a card- (crosstalk) Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say.

[00:50:43] You received this PowerPoint. All these are clickable links. Um, so you’ll be able to go straight to each one. And these are phenomenal resources. These are resources that I send to parents often, um, especially when they’re having a [00:51:00] really hard time in those ARC meetings, um, and they feel like their voice isn’t being heard. Just some great practical tips on what you can do right now.

[00:51:11] Um, so does anybody help else have any questions or anything they would like to add?

[00:51:25] Okay, well here we have, um, a QR code if you would like to take our evaluation. It’s also gonna be prompted when we close the webinar. It will pop up automatically. Then I believe there’s gonna be another link in your follow-up email. So again, we’ve given you plenty of opportunity to take our evaluation. We- we take our evaluations very, very seriously.

[00:51:49] Um, we listen to the feedback that is given. We try to become better based on what you say. Uh, if you have any [00:52:00] additional, um, requests or something you think that you should do a training on, there is a place in the evaluation, I believe to, you know, add a comment. Um, so let us know if there’s something that you’d like to know more about that we can, you know, that we can provide for you. Please let us know.

[00:52:19] Um, and like I said, you can use the QR code. The link in the email as it’s provided. Um, or, when, you know, when the webinar ends, it’ll pop up automatically.

[00:52:30] And then of course, if you have any questions or you need, um, any type of assistance that we can help you with, you know, training and information is a big giant wheelhouse. Um, then please reach out to us. Here is our email address, our website, our phone numbers, um, so plenty of ways to get in touch with us if you need us now or in the future.

[00:52:54] And if I remember correctly, and I apologize for not, uh, having it written [00:53:00] down, I believe we’ll be- be back with you on Wednesday with Laura Beard from The Prichard Committee. Uh, and she will be talking about how to get involved at your child’s school. Um, and Laura is a Family Engagement Coordinator, I think is her title. I’m not looking at it, so if I, (laughs) if I get it wrong, uh, I apologize. But, um, Laura is amazing and I absolutely cannot wait, uh, to hear what she has to share with everyone.

[00:53:34] So we thank you so much for joining us today. We hope to see you again Wednesday, and you just let us know if there’s anything we can do for you in the meantime. So thank you everyone. Have a great day.