For more than two years Listening Together’s co-founder Ahladhini Rao Dugar has been providing tele-intervention to families in India and around the world. When we describe this service delivery model we hear comments such as “Families get all intervention online? That is interesting.” or “How do the children learn if the therapist is just focusing on the parents?”
In a few short weeks tele-intervention has gone from “interesting” to “essential”. Professionals are having to jump in with both feet and embrace tele-intervention, even if they don’t have any training or experience with this type of teaching or therapy. Some are embracing it not fully knowing if and how they can deliver effective tele-intervention.
At Listening Together, we know that empowered parents supported by knowledgeable professionals can transform a deaf or hard of hearing child’s life. We see tele-intervention as an opportunity to empower parents to truly be their child’s primary language facilitator, the expert on the child.
Our advice – FOCUS ON THE FAMILY. Ask them about their routines and their desired outcomes. What is their priority in the current situation? Who is at home? What are the listening and language opportunities they have?
This is an opportunity for all practitioners – teachers and therapists to reflect on whether we are engaged in family-centered intervention and ponder the question of “who holds the power”, the family or the professional?
“At the core of the provision of family-centered care lies the premise that practitioners believe that all families are capable and competent” Rush & Shelden, 2011, p. 25
This powerful quote makes us pause and then gives us hope. This is a call to action for all professionals to meet families where they are. A call to action for a renewed focus on family-centered intervention and parent coaching, even for those whose children have graduated from early intervention, so that families have the knowledge and skills to support their children. We want tele-intervention to help children and families continue to make progress, and to not just survive, but thrive!