Collaboration between adults and practitioners is vital to the success of every child, and especially children with special needs. A child with a diagnosed disability will likely work with a number of professionals or early intervention specialists to address developmental progress. Parents are also powerful advocates in support of their children. Here are a few DEC recommended practices related to collaboration:

• Create and/or contribute to the team of professionals and family members working to support the unique needs of each child.
• Work to establish strong relationships and build trust with members of the team using strategies that are culturally, linguistically, and socio-economically sensitive – maintain confidentiality.
• Establish systems of communication that are effective for each collaborative team to share observations, address issues, and create plans.
• Provide clear, accurate, objective information to family members and team members.
• Work with family and team members to identify goals, create action plans, set priorities, and implement new practices.
• Build family competence through strengths-based coaching, modeling, resources sharing, and skill instruction.
• Help families understand their rights and the resources available within the community.
• Identify additional community resources that provide services appropriate for the child, family, or team.

Adapted from DEC Recommended Practices: 04/14/2014