What Are the Benefits of Parent/Professional Collaboration on Social Skills? Mary Ann Siller's Advice

Mary Ann Siller Listen to Mary Ann Siller's thoughts on the benefits of parent/professional collaboration on the expanded core curriculum.


I'm Mary Ann Siller. I'm the national project manager for the American Foundation for the Blind in our professional development department. I'm part of the Center on Vision Loss in Dallas, Texas.

What do you believe are the benefits of a parent/professional collaboration related to the expanded core curriculum?

We all must realize that the use of the strengths of the parent and the professional is crucial as we build IEP skills—which is the Individual Education Plan. We want to spend time in getting to know one another. I always encourage teachers to regularly contact families to see how the activities and skills have been used in the home and community. Having ongoing opportunities to visit about how they are working on the expanded core curriculum and how that is being applied is so crucial. I truly believe that a collaborative spirit cannot happen once a year at an IEP meeting. It has to happen throughout the year and at various intervals and opportunities.

Another benefit from the collaborative model with parents and professionals is the opportunity to exchange resources of books and websites and materials. AFB Press and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired are excellent resources for this.

One section on the TSBVI website is the RECC or the R-E-C-C. It's the Resources for the Expanded Core Curriculum. This is divided out into all the nine areas of the expanded core and provide activities and resources that build on all the nine skill areas of the expanded core. So we as professionals and the parents can have an opportunity to exchange ideas about what works, and what we need to change, and what we want to incorporate into the child's IEP.

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