Working with families

It is vital to the child's needs that parents and professionals work well together - but several factors can make this hard to achieve.

Two young children with a manFor example:

  • When large numbers of professionals are involved
  • When services are not effectively co-ordinated

As well as professionals and parents working together, as professionals, it's important that you work with each other, sharing information and perhaps appointing a key worker who liaises with parents and co-ordinates services.

As individual professionals you can do a great deal to help parent-professional relationships.

Reading information from other professionals can prevent repetition of identical questions. Keeping an open mind about the conclusions other professionals have reached is also important - children who are multi-sensory impaired often respond in ways that are hard to interpret.

Children who are visited at home

Good practice includes:

  • Remembering that parents know more about their children than anyone else
  • Establishing the family's priorities
  • Listening properly and communicating effectively (avoiding jargon)
  • Remembering that you are a guest in the family home  
  • Providing accurate, unbiased information so that parents can make decisions
  • Remembering that families have the rest of their lives to lead, and not making too many demands
  • Jointly identified strategies that are easily incorporated into existing routines, such as slowing down personal care routines or leaving gaps for the child to respond

Children attending school

Both parents and professionals need to recognise that home and school are different, and work in different ways to meet children's needs. Children may sometimes respond differently to activities in the two settings.

Both parents and professionals need information from the other about your child's state - whether they've slept well or what they've eaten.

Related links

First published: Monday 21 May 2012
Updated: Monday 26 June 2017