A formula for working through ‘tricky collaboration’ situations

by Adina Levy

Here’s what I’m hearing from professionals about what is hard about collaborating with others in a child’s care team:




    Me? Relate relate relate. (you too?)

    Whatever your role in a Neurodivergent child’s life, it’s inevitable that you’ll be doing some form of collaborating with other people who support the child. Families, carers, other professionals.

    When everyone in the team is aligned, a child can benefit SO much from a coordinated, cohesive team. The outcomes for the child and their family and caregivers can be fabulous. With clear goals, shared plans, and excellent communication across the board.

    And when things don’t go so well, it can make collaboration feel like all too much effort.

    There are systemic challenges and barriers that make collaboration hard. While I WANT to shift the systems that we live and work within, (and I believe over a long time-period this will happen), my biggest impact for now is to help you with tools and strategies that you can use, as an individual, working within these funding, time, and structural constraints.

    So today I wanted to share a simple and powerful 4-step formula to help you in these collaborative connections, when things aren’t going so well.

    It’s the acronym PLAN. ‘Cause acronyms are fun, memorable, and make my heart sing.

    Here’s what you can do to improve your collaborative connections when things get tricky:

    • Prepare: Focus & regulate yourself
    • Listen deeply
    • Add your perspective
    • Next steps (collaboratively)

    What I want to highlight is the ‘A’ step, Add your perspective, comes as the 3rd step. It’s a very common inclination to jump in with your own thoughts, knowledge and beliefs much earlier in an interaction. But this is often not the most productive way to handle tricky conversations. Taking the time to regulate yourself, and then gather the other person’s perspectives can set you all up for a more respectful and successful collaboration.

      Keep learning with me!

      Register for the Communicate and Connect Webinar Series for Professionals who support Neurodivergent Children: https://playlearnchat.com/communicate-and-connect-webinars/

      The 3 webinars in the series are:

      • Responsive Relationships: Communication Strategies for Professionals to Connect with Neurodivergent Children


      • Collaborative Connections: Coach and Communicate with Carers & Teams of Neurodivergent Children


      • Supportive Spaces: Creating Inclusive and Accessible Environments to Support Neurodivergent Children in their Communities

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