Maggie is a Parent Partner. To say her first family meeting was difficult would be an understatement. Mr. Smith had no interest in Parent Partner services for two reasons: 1) He expected Maggie would tell them how to parent and 2) Previous professionals, in his opinion, did not seem to respect his family’s culture. The Smiths have twin 6 year olds - one who is autistic. In addition, Mrs. Smith lives with Bipolar Disorder.
In the weeks following that first meeting, Mr. Smith began to see that Maggie was not questioning his family’s values, she was actually helping his wife learn more about their son’s challenges and new strategies to assist her in caring for him. She did not call their family culture or parenting style into question or suggest that their way was wrong. She simply offered ideas and suggestions that were making things easier for the whole family. Over time, Mrs. Smith began to develop new confidence in her skills as a parent and she began to take a more active role in her son’s care. Previously, she had attended his Child and Family Team (CFT) meetings, but not contributed to them - her husband always took the lead. But, as the primary caregiver for their autistic son, her voice and input needed to be heard. And as Mrs. Smith and Maggie worked together, she developed greater confidence (as did her husband) that allowed her to become a key member of her son’s CFT.
When Maggie completed services with The Smiths, they had learned many new skills and made important and positive changes in their lives. Most importantly, Mr. and Mrs. Smith learned how to co-parent successfully. Instead of having separate domains where each was in charge, they were soon supporting one another and working together to raise their children. Their children were also enrolled in karate lessons – which provided a healthy and active outlet for their kids. In their final meeting, The Smiths told Maggie that they now felt both equipped and empowered to find and access services for their son. The entire CFT in fact, now seemed to understand her son’s unique needs and was working cooperatively together to achieve their goals.
The new skills and confidence that The Smith's developed demonstrate the power of Parent Partner services. Maggie is proud of the accomplishments they made together and believes the family is more resilient as a result.