Partnering With Families of Children With Disabilities - Essay Example

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Middlebury College
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The article is talking of how to partner with families of children with disabilities. It starts with an introduction to these families, how the families receive the news that their child has a disability. The different reaction by the families are received and the article has given the different stages in experienced by the parents on the realization that their child has a disability. The for stages include; ostrich phase, in this stage, the parents accept the fact that their child has a disability but they do not fully understand the impact of the situation (Bredekamp, 2016). The stage is followed by Special designation phase where the parents start realizing their child has special needs and requires special attention then followed by the next stage which is normalization phase and lastly the self-actualization phase (Ray et al., 2009). The article covers mainly how to partner with the parent and how to engage in the education development of the disabled child while encouraging the parents and also understanding them so as to team up and help in the development of the child.

Individualized family service Plan (IFSP) and Individualized Education Program IEP) are special intervention, special education and related services which help in the development of a child with disabilities but involves the family, the educator and finally the child with the disability. The two plans have their differences which include when they are started. IFSP starts at birth till the age of 2 and focuses on the family's roles and responsibilities involved in the child's development as well as learning while on the other hand IEP starts after IFSP to be precise it starts at the age of three years till the age of 21 and unlike IFSP this program focuses on the child not the parents (Ray et al., 2009). This leads to the next difference which is the expected outcome of both programs. For the IFSP the outcome focuses on both the child and the family while on the other hand, the outcome focuses on just the child. Learning environment of both the programs differ, IFSP learning occurs at home, outdoors such as the park, child care these are natural environments while for the IEP the learning occurs in schools specifically a school setup such as classrooms (Ray et al., 2009). IFSP include a meeting every six month while for the IEP the meeting is once a year. The meeting have different intentions for both the programs. IFSP meeting with the family offer them information and resources for the child's development and also to define the roles of the different agencies as well as the financial responsibilities. While on the other hand, the meetings are to develop long term goals and short-term goals for the child, accommodation of the child and modification of the services the child receives.

In the introduction of the paper, we mentioned the four stages of adjustment of the family with a child with a disability but didn't mention the importance of each stage. The four stages have different importance starting with the first stage; the Ostrich phase is important for the family to accept the fact that their child has a disability although it may be hard for them to accept. The second phase is the special designation phase where the parents that the child is special, the main importance of this stage is that the family get to seek help and learn more about their child's disability (Hooper & Umansky, 2013). The third stage is the normalization phase which is the most important not to the parents but the child, the parent make sure there is no difference between the child with the disability with the other children and this leads to the final stage Self- Actualization which is important to both the family and the child. The stage is aimed at supporting the child to learn about their disability (Bredekamp, 2016). This clearly the importance of each of the stages to the family and the disabled child.

Conclusively the article helps us understand the families with disabled children, the different situations they go through and mostly helps us understand the development of the disabled child and how we can partner with the families and help them in the growth, development and learning process of their disabled son.


Bredekamp, S. (2016). Effective practices in early childhood education: Building a foundation. Boston: Pearson.

Hooper, S., & Umansky, W. (2013). Young children with special needs. Pearson Higher Ed.

Ray, J. A., Pewitt-Kinder, J., & George, S. (2009). Partnering with families of children with special needs. YC Young Children, 64(5), 16.



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