Parent Connectors: How it works
Parent Connectors is an innovative parent-to-parent support program developed specifically to meet the unique needs of families who have children with emotional or behavioral challenges. Parent Connectors was developed based on the personal experiences of families while incorporating the latest research-based theories on human behavior.
Learn more at cehs.unl.edu/parentconnectors/
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[00:00:14.770]There are several things
[00:00:15.740]that makes Parent Connectors different
[00:00:17.360]from other peer support options.
[00:00:19.740]One of the big ones is that Parent Connectors
[00:00:22.260]is really focused om school.
[00:00:24.910]Helping kids navigate school,
[00:00:26.770]helping parents to be better advocates
[00:00:28.280]and understanding the special education system,
[00:00:30.600]as well as the mental health
[00:00:32.050]services within the community.
[00:00:33.510]That connection between kids, school,
[00:00:35.700]and their mental health services really helps
[00:00:37.440]to make Parent Connectors unique.
[00:00:40.200]Another thing that makes Parent Connectors
[00:00:42.100]different is its focus on evidence-based research.
[00:00:45.120]We've been doing studies for over a decade
[00:00:47.930]on the effectiveness of Parent Connectors.
[00:00:50.380]And in these studies we have found things
[00:00:52.180]like reductions in caregiver strain and stress,
[00:00:55.260]and improvements in parents' ability to advocate
[00:00:58.030]for their children both in school
[00:00:59.630]and in mental health services.
[00:01:01.690]Another unique part of Parent Connectors
[00:01:03.920]is the weekly supervision.
[00:01:05.660]This is a required part of our program,
[00:01:08.080]where our parent connectors meet weekly
[00:01:10.240]for about two hours with a licensed
[00:01:12.070]mental health practitioner,
[00:01:13.160]which is their Parent Connector's coach.
[00:01:14.810]This really allows an opportunity for our parent connectors
[00:01:18.430]to get that one-on-one support and guidance
[00:01:20.990]to help them as they're talking with families.
[00:01:28.450]The parent-to-parent support model
[00:01:30.240]involves three large elements,
[00:01:32.190]one being emotional support,
[00:01:33.730]so just being able to listen to a parent
[00:01:36.180]who's having struggles,
[00:01:37.310]being able to validate and reflect what we're hearing
[00:01:40.880]the struggles are that they're going through.
[00:01:42.630]We also share a lot of informational support,
[00:01:45.100]where we might be giving a parent some information
[00:01:47.790]on what the IAP process is like,
[00:01:49.800]what they might need to know
[00:01:51.750]to better navigate the process of an IAP.
[00:01:54.460]They can also be things like
[00:01:56.060]referring parents to mental health services,
[00:01:58.830]if that's a need that the family has.
[00:02:00.710]And the third is attitudes towards engagement,
[00:02:03.300]which is kind of what makes Parent Connectors unique,
[00:02:06.170]is we work from a very specific theory
[00:02:09.190]of how to help families makes changes
[00:02:11.900]that will ultimately help the child be successful.
[00:02:14.840]And so we look at how does a parent feel
[00:02:17.120]about engaging with the school?
[00:02:18.720]We look at how does a parent feel
[00:02:20.930]about engaging with mental health services?
[00:02:23.580]What are the barriers to them
[00:02:25.190]actually taking steps to make changes?
[00:02:27.650]It teaches them how to develop the skills
[00:02:30.920]that they need to develop in order to
[00:02:33.110]communicate effectively with,
[00:02:34.890]say their IAP manager for their child.
[00:02:37.130]It helps them to learn the skills
[00:02:38.920]of how to make that first call to a therapist
[00:02:41.160]that can be really intimidating,
[00:02:42.800]so that when we're gone, they can be successful.
[00:02:51.260]People often ask us, who makes a good parent connector?
[00:02:54.650]A parent connector needs to be a parent of a child
[00:02:57.590]with emotional and behavioral difficulties,
[00:02:59.750]typically receiving special
[00:03:00.860]education services from the school.
[00:03:02.720]Their child may still be receiving services from the school,
[00:03:05.980]or their child may have graduated a number of years before.
[00:03:14.060]The first step for schools and agencies
[00:03:16.170]to get started with Parent Connectors
[00:03:18.130]is to talk with us to understand their individual needs.
[00:03:21.280]From there, we will move on to helping them
[00:03:23.610]to select a Parent Connector coach,
[00:03:25.750]and to identifying parent connectors for their agency.
[00:03:29.210]And then we'll move on to training the parent connectors
[00:03:32.050]in a two to three day long training,
[00:03:33.870]and then from there they'll be ready
[00:03:35.210]to start the program in their school or agency.
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