You as an EI professional bring important expertise to revealing priorities and strategies. This includes:
- Considering all the information shared by the family and “what it means” for planning meaningful, strengths-based interventions.
- Providing scaffolding for the family as they determine their priorities for their child’s development.
- Sharing your developmental expertise in ways so families affirm their confidence in being a parent.
Reflecting on Your Own: Potential Family Priorities
During the conversation to uncover family’s intentions, the family shared specific words and phrases that potentially reflect their priorities. These can be “big” ideas, such as “be his own individual” or specific competencies, such as “express his thoughts.” List those words and phrases the family used. After you document them:
- Share with the family the list you captured. You can leave the list with the family at the end of the uncover family’s intentions visit or email the list afterwards.
- Ask the family to group the words/phrases that they believe go together, like a few different word clouds, and send them back to you. Let the family know they don’t have to use all the words/phrases you listed.
These word clouds are the family’s potential priorities. For example, a family might group the following words and phrases together: be his own individual, get what he needs and wants, express his thoughts, know we are listening and responding. You’ll know the family’s actual priorities when you and the family reveal priorities and strategies together. Knowing these potential priorities ahead of time will help you identify potential strategies.
Reflecting on Your Own: Potential Strategies
For each priority cluster, consider the strategies the family is already using that contribute to meeting that priority cluster. To do this, reflect on:
- What responsive caregiving and physical adaptation strategies did the family use?
- How effective did the family think each strategy was?
- For strategies the family thinks can be more effective, how might they be tweaked?
Potential tweaks to strategies might be:
- Identifying any tweaks the family came up with during the uncovering family’s intentions.
- Generalizing the strategy to more/different contexts.
- Using the strategy more often within the same contexts.
- Exploring when to use the strategy and when not use the strategy.
- Adjusting the specific strategy.
Then, reflect on potential new strategies you might share with the family for that particular priority. Reflect on whether any strategies are needed that:
- Augment what the family is already doing.
- Substitute for current strategies the family feels are ineffective.
When considering strategies, remember to include those that directly facilitate the priority cluster, as well as foundational strategies, such as quality parent-child interaction and everyday materials and room arrangements.
You may not share or ultimately utilize all strategies you identified on your own. However, the more strategies you identify, the more likely you will have strategies that fit the family when reflecting together.
Reflecting Together: Revealing Priorities and Strategies
You and the family will reflect together to reveal the family’s priorities and strategies. Reveal priorities first and then go back to identify strategies. The way the family chooses to group the words/phrases might change based on discussions of other priorities.
To reveal each priority, share with the family one group of words they clustered. Ask the family to put the priority in their own words (“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 the family says is their priority. Since you learned so much about the family, there’s no need for clarification or revision.
To reveal strategies for each priority…
- Identify strategies the family said are already effective and can promote meeting the priority. Remember to include strategies that might be indirectly related but an important contributor to meet the priority.
- Share strategies the family is already using that the family thinks could be more effective. Brainstorm potential tweaks that would address the family’s questions/issues with a strategy for the identified priority.
- Add new strategies only as necessary if the family feels new strategies are needed. That way, you avoid “new strategy bombardment,” that overwhelming feeling families get when there are too many new strategies to embed into their day.
For each priority, make sure there are more currently effective strategies than tweaked/new combined.
For most priorities, make sure there are more tweaked strategies than new strategies.
The Practitioner Mental Parking Lot: Most likely, you will bring more strategy ideas to the revealing conversation than you share or the family is interested in using. That’s okay. These ideas can be held onto – in your “mental parking lot” – and shared should the opportunity arise when refining priorities and strategies.