Carolyn Glass and her husband, Michael, are the parents of ten children (8 of them adults, including two with multiple disabilities and autism), and one grandchild. Carolyn is a consultant with the Communicating Partners Center based in Columbus, Ohio, working closely with Dr. James MacDonald to help families of children with communication delays around the globe. A teacher by profession, she has 30 years experience teaching children of all ages in both traditional and non-traditional settings and currently tutors adults and children in a variety of subjects. Carolyn’s accomplishments include being a founder and original board member of the Center for Creative Play in Pittsburgh, an inclusive indoor play center and parent/professional resource center for families of children with and without disabilities. She developed and coordinated an inclusive mentoring program for elementary and middle school students in a Pittsburgh Public School in partnership with the Duquesne University School of Education. She is the 2013 recipient of the Linda Dickerson Award for excellence in advocacy for Working Women with Disabilities. One of her current projects is working with a group of parents and professionals to develop a model for meaningful inclusion of adults with complex disabilities in their communities.
Communicating with others can be a tricky business. Even for experienced adults, it is easy for our words or actions-our inten-tions-to be misunderstood by others. For children who have challenges with communi-cation or social skills, being misunderstood may be a common occurrence. Behavior speaks! From the time babies are first born, parents begin to fine-tune their ability to read their children’s behavior. Parents are uniquely qualified to be interpreters for their children’s communications when children are unable to clearly articulate their own needs. Sending our children off to school or any other place can be difficult for any parent; it takes a great deal of courage for parents of children with ASD or any kind of communication or behavioral challenges to let our children go out into the world without us. Will the teacher/therapist/nurse/aid/caregiver under-stand my child’s attempts to communicate? What if my child has a meltdown? What if my child is having a medical issue and is unable to adequately express his needs? Will my child be heard?
This interactive, practical workshop will show participants how to develop a personalized guide to translate their child’s behaviors into communications that others can understand. Professionals will find this workshop useful for supporting, encouraging, and respecting the vital role families have as major partners in the education of their children. Parents will be empowered to help their children’s “voices” be heard, even in their absence.
At the conclusion of this program, participants should be able to:
- Discuss the value of creating a communica-tion guide for their child/student/client
- Develop a personalized communication guide
- Apply the plan in home, school, and com-munity settings
- Describe the importance of parent/pro-fessional teamwork in the process
- Use the template provided for creating future communication guide plans