Title: 'Strengthening the Parent-Professional Relationship'
Track: 6-Family Issues
Keyword(s): parent professional relationship, culture, grief
Learning Objectives: • Communicate more effectively with parents and other professionals in the field of D/HH early intervention • Predict times when the relationships between providers and parents may be the most conflicted • Understand with new depth the challenges that parents may face at specific “touchpoints” or times of transition • Resynchronize professional cultures with the family cultures served through reflective practice • Gain insights, practical strategies and language that are engaging, supporting and useful when working with parents of the young Deaf/HH child • Promote shared decision-making that truly benefits the deaf/hard of hearing child


As professionals who have initial contact with families of newly identified D/HH infants,it is important that we strengthen our ability to communicate effectively with families. Working on the front line, we are often in a situation of forced intimacy with a family. Conflicting interests, both personal and professional are often confusing for parents and at times, professionals as well. By reviewing the research which identifies foreseable times when the parent provider relationships may be the most conflicted and looking at Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s Touch Point Model we can use our own experiences and expertise to predict times for both adults and children when they are most at risk for emotional and developmental 'derailment'. Through the work of Dr. Maria Trozzi we can view parental grief as a necessary and helpful catalyst for growth and better plan how to address the child and family's needs. and we can help parents understand, re-frame and articulate what they really want for their child. Through this understanding of the power of semantics, development and grief we can develop a vocabulary of “shared meaning” with families. Through this reflective practice we can promote parental decision-making that truly benefits both the child and the family.
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Michele Tompkins - California School for the Deaf
     Credentials: MA Deaf Education Parent-Infant Mental Health Certification
     Other Affiliations: : Mission Valley SELPA Early Start Program Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Teacher Specialist California School for the Deaf, Serving Early Education Systems Consultant(SEEDS), California Department of Education, Infant Development Association Board (IDA)
      Michele Tompkins received her MA in Deaf Education in NY. After having worked in a variety of settings and with varied age groups of D/HH children, Michele finally found her niche in California's Early Start Parent Infant Program for D/HH. Michele has been involved with the Parent-Infant Program for more than 25 years. Michele currently works in a collaborative Early Start Program between the California School for the Deaf and the local school districts. She is also the Early Childhood Education Teacher Specialist. She serves as a visitation site consultant for the California Department of Education SEEDS Project and has received her certification in Infant-Parent and Early Childhood Mental Health through the Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Certificate Program in Napa, CA.