Could this landmark conference discuss the shared training needs of early support professionals?
Early child and family support around babies and infants who have significant challenges to their development and learning is evolving slowly. This landmark conference coming 25 years into the century can boost this process of change and development.
Since the middle of the last century there has been some support in some parts of some countries for these children. Then, at the end of the last century came the realisation that families need support too. That was the second evolutionary phase.
So when an early support professional is getting to know a new family, she or he knows the child has one set of needs while the parents have an entirely different set of needs:
- The child needs support in health, education, play, socialising, sleep, etc.
- The parents needs a listening ear, empathy, warmth, answers to questions, reassurance, information about local services, support to keep the family strong, and probably help with anxiety, exhaustion, stress, family relationships, etc. etc. etc.
Even if local services have evolved to recognise family support needs, it is most likely that the first professionals the family is getting to know have no training in how to effectively support a family in this situation.
It would be wonderful if this landmark early child and family support conference could discuss the training needs of early support professionals and set an international ball rolling towards the development of unified local early child and family support workforces.
This would mean the various teachers, nurses, doctors, psychologists, play workers, etc. around these young children would feel they belonged to their local early support workforce and would have training to address the first needs of each child and each family.
Professional undergraduate training would include a common curriculum in early support in addition to the particular specialism. This would bring a more unified approach to early child and family support and would give professionals a shared identity, improved competence and confidence.
There is an opportunity in Portugal to begin this third evolutionary phase, supporting the professionals around these children and families. This would include training in collaborative teamwork:
Your comments welcome, especially if you have relevant ambitions and experience in this third evolutionary phase.
See Part 1 here