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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Happy baby; Text - Providing health care services that ensure our children start out healthy Four Medical Professionals; Text - Creating a place where health care professionals connect Four girls smiling; Text - Providing extraordinary care so children can lead ordinary lives
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Module 1: Lesson 3: Element 1

Element 1: Recognize the Family is the Constant in the Child's Life

This element recognizes that the family is the constant in the child's life while the service systems and personnel within those systems change. The ultimate responsibility for managing a child's health, developmental, social and emotional needs lies with the family. Therefore, providers must work to support families in their efforts to be primary decision makers, caregivers, teachers, and advocates for their child.

Practice Considerations

  • Acknowledge who the key family members are.
  • Ask families what they value. Goals?
  • Identify family routines. What is a typical day like?
  • Recognize the expertise of families; listen to their ideas and opinions.
  • Invest in teaching the family what they need to know to care for their child.
  • Mold the IFSP to match family strengths, needs, concerns, and resources.
  • Share decision making.
  • Support families as the number one caregiver of their child, including family coping strategies.

Since parents generally have an innate understanding of the strengths and needs of the child, family members should be encouraged to provide information and offer opinions relative to their child's development. Accordingly, providers must be willing to listen, support, and respond to the concerns and priorities of the family in order to best meet the needs of the child. Family members are more likely to be actively involved if they feel their input is respected and valued.


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