D. Experience-Based Knowledge

Earlier you considered two important sources of evidence: the best available research, and policies about communication with families. Experience-based knowledge is another source of evidence to help guide your decision-making. Experience-based knowledge is the “know-how” that comes from solving problems, overcoming barriers, and making decisions in everyday life.

CONNECT staff identified parents and practitioners from around the country who have experience-based knowledge on the topic of communication for collaboration and invited them to share their views. These spokespersons are Marshall Peter, Vera Stroup-Rentier, and Barbara Hanft.

Marshall Peter
Marshall is the Executive Director of Direction Service, where he began as a parent advocate in 1976. He is the founding Director of the Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE), funded by the US Department of Education as the National Center on Dispute Resolution. The father of a now deceased child with multiple disabilities, Marshall’s early work as an aggressive advocate evolved into an interest in developing methods for facilitating home school partnerships that are respectful, considerate and yield equally powerful results for children. A renowned expert in appropriate dispute resolution and conflict resolution system design, Marshall has received numerous awards for his work in advocacy and human rights.
Vera Stroup-Rentier
Vera is in the unique position of having worked in the field of early intervention for 15 years and then having four children, three of whom received early intervention services in two different states. Her daughter continues to receive special education services in their local school district. Vera has worked in the field of early intervention as a teacher, family service coordinator, and program coordinator, as well as in the field of early childhood as a classroom teacher and center director. Lastly, she has worked at the university level as a technical assistance specialist and lecturer. Currently (2010), Vera is a doctoral student at the Beach Center on Disability.
Barbara Hanft
Barbara is a developmental consultant with degrees in occupational therapy and counseling psychology. She has worked in early childhood for more than 35 years as a clinician, lobbyist, educator, and consultant. Currently she co-leads a therapy group for adolescent girls to promote their social and emotional development. Barbara was inducted as a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association and was also awarded the Presidential Citation for her outstanding leadership and advocacy for promoting services and supports to children with special needs and their families. She has published over 25 articles/chapters and 3 books on professional development and early childhood. Her most recent book, Collaborating for Student Success, focuses on effective teamwork among educators, therapists, families and students in school settings.

Now listen to audio clips from phone interviews with these spokespersons and identify important considerations relating to effective communication for collaboration.

Audio 3.1: Marshall Peter

Marshall Peter, the father of a now deceased child with multiple disabilities and founding Director of the Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE), shares advice on communication and stresses the importance of listening (running time: 2 min., 12 sec.).

Audio 3.2: Vera Stroup-Rentier

Vera Stroup-Rentier has worked in the field of early intervention as a teacher, family service coordinator, and program coordinator, as well as in the field of early childhood as a classroom teacher and center director. She shares advice on communication and stresses the importance of having an open mind (running time: 0 min., 48 sec.).

Audio 3.3: Barbara Hanft

Barbara Hanft, a developmental consultant with degrees in occupational therapy and counseling psychology shares advice on communication. She explains the difference between talking and communicating, the importance of listening and responding with your eyes and ears, and developing empathy (running time: 2 min., 38 sec.).

Supplemental Materials

To learn more about CADRE resources and Barbara Hanft’s book, see the Supplemental Materials.