“They don’t get it, they’re only service providers”

I have heard this so often from parents that have a child who has a disability. As I listened to similar comments from parents, I realized that there was something missing in the parent-professional relationship. I decided to take action.

It is true, that the people who provide support and services to others may not understand the minute to minute and challenges that people face on a daily basis.  After all, unless they have been impacted personally, how could they truly get it?

However, I believe that people who work in human services, education, social services and health care, choose their profession because they want to make a difference for others and that they do their work with good intention. Perhaps it’s our responsibility, the support recipients, to facilitate a greater understanding of our lives and to increase their sensitivity to our point of view.

How can we help others to walk in our shoes?

 I got to work and created “In a Family’s Shoes”, a role play designed to explore an extraordinary circumstance, the emotional impact and effect on the entire family. 

This activity is so effective that I have had participants jump up and say, “this is an epiphany” or “I have worked in this field for so many years.  I thought I understood and now I realize how much more there was to know.”

“Empathy is foundational for building bridges between individuals, understanding each other’s’ complex emotions, gaining a diverse perspective, and leveraging relationships for collaboration and progress”, as stated by Jordan Catapano, a high school assistant principal in Illinois.

“In a Family’s Shoes” increases empathy and is a catalyst for further discussion on the role of community, strengthening emotional intelligence, exploring bias, building trust, and how to have difficult conversations.

It is a conversation starter, a foundation for exploring continuous improvement strategies such as improved problem solving, more positive relationships and a culture shift from benevolence to empowerment, resulting in more family engagement, family leadership and parent lead teams.

The desire to make a change is the first step.  Knowing how to do it comes next.

“In a Family’s Shoes” and my other signature workshops will prepare you and your team with the practical skills and knowledge for moving forward and strengthening your capacity to deliver client-focused and human centered support and services. Participants will come away with fresh perspectives and innovative approaches for transformation and change.

I welcome the opportunity to speak with you and explore how “In a Family’s Shoes” can help your organization and the people you serve.  Please contact me and let’s start talking today!

~ Lisa