How many of our daily problems could be solved with better communication?
This week I have had several reminders about how important it is to communicate with other team members – and I mean ALL team members. Communication is the foundation of trust.
One thing I love about working in the schools, is how many team members I easily have at my disposable. Just start typing their names into my school email account and BAM! – quick email sent to the OT/teacher/behavior therapist/autism specialist…
However, the communication needs to extend beyond the school’s four walls – especially when you are dealing with implementing AAC. Many students with complex communication needs have teams that extend beyond the school based personnel. When you combine all of the people who are working with this student, we end up with some REALLY big teams! Team members usually come from multiple agencies and backgrounds.
Here are some important tips to keep in mind when communicating with other team members:
It’s always safe to assume that everyone on the team is there to help the student and doing the best he/she can; so, keep an open mind when you enter into courageous conversations.
Just because someone is doing something different from you – do not assume that it is wrong.
On the same note – DO NOT get offended when someone asks you, “Why did you think/do/choose that?” We all bring unique talents to the table and we aren’t going to agree on everything, but if you have information to back up what you are doing/recommending – it’s much easier to get others on board.
If you find yourself thinking, “I should call/email _____, but I don’t have time,” then make time. It’s so difficult to carve out times in our jam packed schedules to make the time to communicate with each other – but it’s so critical to building trust. Keep on keeping on!
I’ve made communication mistakes, and I’m sure I will continue to do so; but, I’ll keep trying.
Here are some quick(ish) ways to communicate among team members (with parent permission of course):
– shared google docs/forms
– video taping what you are doing
– sharing of evaluations/progress notes
– private blogs to provide quick updates
How do you communicate amongst team members?