FCSN // Newsletter // 2014 // Winter 2014 // Relationships – More than Just a Cup of Coffee

Relationships – More than Just a Cup of Coffee

I heard on the radio that a famous coffee shop was designing a business model around building relationships. The corporate world saw the value of personal engagement.

Parents should also value relationships, especially with their child’s school. Teachers, specialists, counselors and administrators all play an important role in the education of their children. Families of children with special needs rely on the delivery of an individualized education plan for their children which are formed by teamwork. The Team Meeting works best when both sides really listen and build trust through mutual respect.

Relationships take work. Before a trusting rapport is formed, both parties must learn to appreciate and understand one another. Just as your local barista might develop a system to remember your name or favorite coffee combo, families need to develop a system of communication to better connect with school personnel. Connections can lead to new places and ideas. Relationships should always allow for growth and change.

Special Education Parent Advisory Councils (SEPACs) also need to value and grow relationships. Opinions from a trusted colleague are more easily heard and accepted. SEPACs looking to bring effective change to their school districts under their advisory role need to build a level of trust so their message is heard.

SEPAC officers need to focus on issues which affect the district-wide population and push for an open exchange of ideas on tough issues. But change will only come when there is transparent give and take on an issue and both parties have a strong level of trust to hear the dialogue. A lot more work than pouring a cup of coffee, but so much more valuable.