All parents and guardians want to care for, love and provide the best opportunities for their children. However, the families in our programs often have challenges that go above and beyond those of families of children without disabilities.
One of the main stressors for families of children with disabilities is the lack of understanding and fear from the community, which includes family and friends. This isolation can become overwhelming and have negative effects on the emotional well-being of the families you serve. In addition, many of the families that attend your program may have unsuccessfully tried other recreational activities for their child or have been too afraid to even try.
A successful program will always create a welcoming and non-judgmental environment for families. Recognizing your own personal bias (we all have them) may be a helpful way for you to develop empathy towards families and assist you in creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that acknowledges the unique challenges they are facing.
The best way to get to know your families… is to TALK with them and LISTEN.
Young Athletes Snapshot Form
Each YA program has a personalized Young Athlete Snapshot form that you can send to families to learn a little bit more about them before they come to your session. Your personalized link to the form can be found in your program’s gmail or you can email YAPinfo@sonj.org to request the link. The responses will go directly to your program’s gmail account.
Sending the Snapshot form is a great way to start off a positive and open relationship with the families that attend your program.
Getting Families More Active
- Get in the Game – Encouraging Parents to be Active During Your Sessions
Creating a Welcoming Environment
- Communication Connection
- Newsletter Template 1 (cross reference – find in Program Management Basics)
- Newsletter Template 2 (same as above)
- Setting Out the Welcome Mat
- Welcome Song Links: one / two / three
- The Sunshine Club
Understanding the Journey
- Understanding Bias (info coming soon)
- Being Culturally Aware