Developing a positive, supportive relationship with the child and the important people in their life will help the child feel included and strengthen the family's trust in your service.
It's recommended you communicate openly with the child, their family/carers and their support team at both the enrolment and orientation phases, and keep communication channels open for as long as the child continues to attend your service.
How to communicate with the child
- allow every child, including those with complex disabilities, to provide input into the activities they take part in
- listening to the child's ideas and preferences when making decisions about what happens at Outside School Hours Care (OSHC). For example, include the child in talks about their health care needs or behaviours of concern. This will help them develop trust and ownership in the program.
How to communicate with the child's family/carers
- work with the family to gather information and understand the child's abilities, interests and support needs – families know their child the best
- communicate regularly so you have the most up-to-date information, particularly if the child's needs change often (possibly daily)
- have parent support meetings or a daily communication book, which may travel with the child between school, OSHC and home
- when communicating with the family, focus on positive experiences and outcomes, not only on challenges or incidents
- share feedback and information given to the family with the child's support team to help improve support strategies
- be aware some families may require additional support with tasks such as completing forms. Be responsive, patient and respectful of each family's circumstances.
How to communicate with the child's support team
- work closely with the care providers, such as disability and health workers, who give the child specialist and individualised support
- determine what is needed to meet the child's individual needs with the help of the support team, which often has a wealth of information about the child's specific support needs
- ask the team if they can share any tools, templates and resources to help you support the child, such as sensory profile information, communication boards, mobility equipment funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or other assistive technology
- meet members of the team to discuss how to support a child's goals and development – this will help create a holistic approach.
How to communicate with the child's school
- ask what techniques and strategies work well for the child at school, so you can provide the same kind of support – schools have valuable insights
- where possible, shadow a lesson at the child's school to see inclusive practices that you can replicate
- communicate daily with the school about any incidents that have occurred, as the impact on the child may flow from one setting to another
- meet regularly with the school to build a positive relationship. A template for a partnership meeting agenda is available.