Whether you are using this approach on your own or with your EI professional, you can take your time and think about all that was learned when interacting naturally and uncovering your own intentions. Families who tried this approach said they learned a lot about how they want to be a parent and that they are, indeed, meeting that vision.
Reflecting on Your Own: Your Family Priorities
Your family priorities are whatever you say they are — whatever is important to you that your child do or learn or value.
If Doing it Yourself (DIY), you can think about what you thought was important when uncovering your own intentions. These thoughts came from asking:
- Why did you choose to do what you did?
- What did you hope your child would learn or do?
If you want, you can jot down your answers. Review the list of words and phrases you identified and think about:
What words and phrases go together?
Each grouping of words and phrases you put together, like a word cloud, reflects a priority of yours. For example, you might cluster together: be his own individual, get what he needs and wants, express his thoughts, and know we are listening and responding. It’s up to you to then decide what priority those words and phrases mean. You can ask yourself…
- What would you say is the overall priority of what you would want your child to be able to do?
- What words would you use to describe the words grouped together as one big priority?
Whatever you say IS your priority. There’s no need to make it sound a certain way or use professional language.
If you are joining your EI professional, it would still be helpful to reflect on your own. The only difference is your EI professional may:
- Share the list of words and phrases you said when you and your EI professional had the uncovering family’s intentions. You’ll have time to group those words and phrases together before your next visit with your EI professional.
- At that next visit, your EI professional will ask you to identify your priorities based on how you grouped the words/phrases. You won’t have to come up with those priorities ahead of time, but you certainly could!
Reflecting on Your Own: Your Family Strategies
Whether doing it yourself or joining your EI professional, you can identify your strategies and strengths in helping your child learn. You can do this by thinking about your answers to how effective you thought each strategy was when uncovering your intentions. Then, you can…
- Celebrate all the strategies you think are working well. These are strengths as-is!
- Identify the strategies you think could work better. Many times, these strategies just need a little tweaking. Think about why you think a particular strategy could work better. Based on your answer, you might change it up by:
- Sticking with the strategy a little while longer because you think the strategy could still work.
- Changing the strategy a little to make it a little easier or harder for your child.
- Using the strategy more often or at different times of the day. It might just be your child needs more practice.
- Identifying good times to use the strategy, such as when your child is awake and alert, and when not to use the strategy, such as when your child is tired.
These tweaked strategies are still your strengths. YOU came up with the strategies in the first place and YOU came up with ways to tweak them.
- Think about whether, through this process, new strategies came to mind, either when you were thinking on your own or in your conversations with your EI professional.
Remember that, whether you think of them as “official” strategies or not, you help your child learn.
Even if you are joining your EI professional, you can still think about strategies ahead of time. That way, you can share your strengths – what you do, think, and feel – with your EI professional and clarify what kinds of strategies work and don’t work for you as a family.
Reflecting Together: Revealing Priorities and Strategies
If you and your EI professional are revealing priorities and strategies together, you can bring your reflections to that conversation. These reflections can include your strategies and strengths for helping your child learn, as you currently use them and any ways you might want to tweak them to help your child develop even more.
Based on reflecting on your own, you can communicate your strengths to your EI professional by sharing:
- Your priorities for your child’s development
- The abilities you want your child to develop – to do, understand, feel – for those priorities
- How you are already helping your child learn
- Ideas for tweaking or new strategies you want to talk to your EI professional about
- Ideas for tweaking or new strategies you would like from your EI professional
When revealing strategies together, you and your EI professional will:
- Identify strategies YOU said are already effective and can promote meeting your priority.
- Brainstorm potential tweaks that would address your questions/issues with any strategies to make them more effective.
- Add new strategies only as necessary if YOU feel new strategies are needed. Let your EI professional know if you feel like there are plenty of strategies for the time being or want new strategies. It’s totally up to you. New strategies can always be added along the way.
At the end of the conversation, you will have an outline of each of your priorities, as you described them, and strategies to help your child meet those priorities. For each priority, the outline will include more currently effective strategies than tweaked/new combined.
Don’t feel like everything has to be outlined during this conversation or that you have to accept any of your EI professional’s ideas right away. The outline is only the beginning. There is plenty of time to identify and try out new strategies as needed when refining priorities and strategies.