Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Post of a Different Flavor: Reflections on Change in The Early Intervention World

Back in April, I posted about some of the changes that were occurring in the world of early intervention and linked to my post on ASHA that described the things I had learned this past year as I worked my way through those changes.  In each of those posts, I alluded to some of the emotions I had experienced as I learned new ways of working with families.  More recently, as part of wrapping up a position as "preparing mentor" for the State of Wisconsin's Birth-to-Three program, I was asked to summarize my year again. This time, I expanded on the various challenges I faced as I worked to shift my practice. After writing my thoughts down, I thought I'd share them here too.  Here's what I had to say.

Shifting our practices is a journey. 

It’s a journey that requires us, as therapists, to look at our current practices and have the courage to step back and understand that there may be areas where we need to grow. This is difficult because it requires us-- first and foremost-- to acknowledge that we may not have been serving families in the best way possible... that we may have let families down.  It takes courage. 

It's a journey that requires us to be open to exploring new ways…to tolerate the internal struggle that results from studying something new and examining the evidence behind it, all while continuing to serve the children and families who are already on our caseloads.   It's a journey that requires us to challenge our traditional views; to re-examine the things we were taught and the ways we learned to be therapists; to go to the very core of what we do and challenge ourselves to do even better.  It takes faith. 

It's a journey that requires us to deeply understand the concepts of attachment and family systems—things that very few of us studied in school--and to find ways to integrate those systems of knowledge into ours. It's a journey that requires us to know our scope of practice and to challenge how we think about it while still operating within it. It's a journey that asks us to redefine our own systems, to find ways to bridge the gap between the requirements for billing and documentation and the expectations of evidence-based practice, to both know our limits and push them.   It takes creativity. 

And it's a journey that challenges us to give our colleagues space to forge their own path while still walking toward the same destination; to find ways to respectfully disagree; to develop trust with each other; and to take comfort in the belief that, in the end, we all want to do the best for the families and children that we are called to serve.  And doing this, we find hope. 


Looking for more posts on early intervention?


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