Mom and Sister of Special Needs Student Provide Insights into Developing Positive Relationships
Special education students, their parents, teachers and staff are faced with a delicate balance in communicating, relating to each other, and building relationships. Jo-Ann Turning*, Tinton Falls, whose son attends the Harbor School, Eatontown, one of three RKS Associates state-approved special education schools, and Anna Turning, sister of the student and a senior at St Rose High School, Belmar, recently presented “Strengthening Relationships Between Professionals and Parents” to more than 50 Harbor School staff members.
Erik Glazner, the RKS supervisor of instruction for the Alpha, Gateway, and Harbor Schools, said, “As professionals it is extremely important to exhibit good interpersonal skills, such as verbal communication, listening skills, and the basics of interactions among everyone so we can communicate and develop a level of trust with our families.”
During their talk, the Turnings stressed the importance of being responsive and having the right attitude. They asked attendees to just “Imagine you are me….” To that end, an on-going self-assessment is essential for everyone. Questions, such as do I exhibit warmth, strength; am I likable; trust-worthy; competent? will help build strong relationships and focus on the needs of parents and students.
Parents need to know that each professional knows their special needs student well. No one wants just another IEP (Individualized Education Program). What does this student do really well? Did this student do anything that surprised you or made you laugh? What makes this student happy most often during the school day?
Everyone seemed to agree that setting goals higher and acknowledging a student’s potential give parents hope.
The Harbor School; the Gateway School, Carteret; and the Alpha School, Jackson, provide education, therapeutic, and behavioral support for children who have challenges, such as multiple disabilities, cognitively impairments, autistic spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, behavioral disorders, or other health impairments.
For more information or information about school enrollment, contact Dana Giblin at 732-544-9394. *Jo-Ann Turning named her website “Bacon and Juice Boxes” after her son’s two favorite foods — Oscar Meyer bacon and Capri Sun juice boxes.