Parent Comments

Parent Reflections about the Team Process



The purpose of the team approach is to value families and support parents and caregivers in meeting their children’s needs. The family has first-hand knowledge of those needs and brings with them culture, heritage and desires for the future. The ABLE team respects and appreciates each family’s desires for their child.

Our job is to help families help their children. We see the family as the head of the team created to help their child. Our goal is to have families know what community resources are available to help them, such as special services through public schools, the Utah Parent Center, etc. In communities around the state, we link families with a parent advocate who is familiar with the clinic, knows the family’s community well and can help them access the services they need. Our role is to support the family’s objectives and work on their side for the wellbeing of their child.

We appreciate the family’s strengths and encourage them to use their strengths to support alliances with community resources. These alliances create and build on a network of support that fosters their child’s growth.

The following are statements made by clients and professional contacts of the ABLE clinic about their impressions and experiences regarding the services the clinic provides, as well as their thoughts about the above family statement. The draft above was crafted and edited by parents to represent what they stand for.

The ABLE team hopes to serve as a model for other agencies, but more for the Sate of Utah by demonstrating the value and success of strength-culturally based services, a team wrap-around approach, outcome directed and change oriented resources for special needs children and their families.

Families are rich with their stories of hard times and resiliency. We are grateful for learning about families’ lives and what they have shown us about the human spirit. We are also appreciative of the confidence and trust parents have in our service toward them as we thank all of our families including the people who have highlighted what has worked for them here.

Note: Although there is a suggestion of praiseful testimonials, inquiries were directed at what would make a difference in the care rendered by anyone and how that might generalize to other contexts.

Parent and Parent Advocate Comments:

Mother of a girl with mild mental retardation:

“I think a team is a good idea. By using teams and brainstorming I was able to see the forest for the trees. It seems like when you have more brains, you have more resources.”

“[The team] is great for recognizing [my child’s] strong points. Focusing on strengths is necessary to survive.”

“I liked the team approach and…I liked having more opinions. [The team] gave the support I needed to get things done. People are more willing to accept what’s coming from a team rather than one person when the ideas don’t match their own.”

Mother of three children with anxiety disorder:

“At the regular doctor, [the glass is] half empty and you’re trying to fill it up; with the team, they figure out what’s right and build on it. They build [the child] up to themselves and to [the parents]. You leave there strengthened and it’s hard to wait for the next appointment.”

“[What I like about] teams is you get all different ideas, especially when members respect each other, which they do [in this program].”

Parent advocate:

“Focusing on strengths is extremely beneficial. Parents need to hear a positive perspective to have the strength to [find help for their kids].”


“The team-based approach makes things easier for families, helps the family be more confident [and] fits well with the medical home model.”

Parent advocate:

“One of the things I love about the program is you get opinions from lots of other people so that you’re not operating in a vacuum.”

“What the program does is an incredible service to this state. I brag about our services all over the country. I really believe in the whole process of having these clinics.”

“[The program] loves families so much that they don’t require families to do more on their own instead of relying completely on the clinic. Really support their strengths and confidence in themselves”(when families are in a place to be capable of that).

“The family advocates [could work on] setting up their own meetings without relying on the clinic so much.”

“Agencies need to adopt [the team approach] by understanding how it benefits their agency.”

Mother of a child with moderate autism:

“The program is marvelous because they look at the whole child, not just physical, but emotional, social, [etc.], which not many organizations do.”

“What the family says matters; family is included as part of the team. [The clinic] has capable, brilliant people that offer solutions [and] work together to find solutions to help the family.”

“[The program] uses strengths to determine abilities and needs. Usually when you go to a doctor, you’re there because something’s wrong. In looking at strengths you allow the child to build on one strength and develop others.”

Mother of child with high-functioning autism (also a parent advocate):

“I liked the team approach because there was more than one person there…everybody’s got a different perspective…and we were able to problem solve from there.”

“[The team] listens to you as a parent. They really listen and that makes all the difference in the world.”

“[The program] doesn’t just focus on the child, they focus on the family as a unit. They actually spend the time with you; you don’t feel you have to rush. They help [parents] remember ‘you’re important’. The whole approach is wonderful; it’s calming [and] it doesn’t add further stress.”


Mother of a child with autism and two children with learning disabilities:

“I tell people about [the program]. The [team’s approach] has helped me through a lot. When you see strengths and [the team] points them out, it encourages you.”

“I love the team because there’s so many different specialists…they all work together…they come up with suggestions…and it works. They got me to ask more questions I needed to ask, which I didn’t know, and they’re behind me…and I feel stronger.”

“Increase accessibility and awareness through schools and the website; the website would be good for parents to get more knowledge.”

Mother of a child with learning differences:

“[The team] never seems to be in any hurry. You can sit down and discuss any problems…and they take the time to look at it from different angles. The discussion that ensues…is really helpful. All the meetings are very positive. It’s a personal interaction so [my child] is more willing to open up and look at the difficulties he faces.”

“[The program] tries to figure out ways you can use strengths to carry out weaknesses and that’s a positive thing. [The team] taught my [child] to look for strengths and that’s a long-term effect.”