Authentic Collaboration with Diverse
“ Individual Consideration is Key”
DEC - New Possibilities Institute
With Focus on F1-F10 especially F8
Burlington , May 1,2014
Susan M. Moore, Professor - Clinical, Director, Clinical
Education & Services, SLHS, University of Colorado,
Boulder Clara Pérez- Méndez, President, Puentes
Learner Objectives
Participants will :
 Explore concepts of family and culture to better
understand similarities and differences within a
framework of individual consideration of unique
characteristics of each and every family
 Review current demographic trends impacting changes
in practice with families of young children we serve
 Reflect and discuss differing perspectives,
expectations, assumptions, common stereotypes
and/or biases influencing the development of
responsive practices from all to each family. How
does this impact our practice? What should we do?
 Exploring Concepts of Family & Culture
 Listening to Family Stories: Video
 Exploring Influencing Factors Impacting Our
 Implications for Practice
 Self Refection
Trust - Information - Choice
Families develop the ability to interact with
professionals and advocate for their children only
when they:
 trust in the responsiveness of the system of
supports and services,
 are knowledgeable about how this system
works, and
 have enough information to select the
appropriate choices for their child and family.
Definitions of Family
Families are big, extended, nuclear,
multigenerational, with one parent, two parents, and
grandparents. We live under one roof or many. A
family can be temporary as a few weeks, or as
permanent as forever, We become part of a family by
birth, adoption, marriage, or from a desire for
mutual support…
…a family is a creature unto itself, with different
values and unique ways of realizing its dreams;
together our families become the source of our rich
cultural heritage and spiritual diversity…our families
create neighborhoods, communities, states, and
Report from the House Memorial 5 Task Force on
Young Children and Families, New Mexico,1990
A Family…
 “is a group of people who make an irrational
commitment to each other’s wellbeing to the point
of making each other crazy.”
U. Bronfenbrenner
 “happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close
-knit family in another city.”
George Burns
Similarities & Differences
 Think about your family: Quickly draw/sketch your
family picture
 Share your family picture with a partner and
identify similarities and differences according to:
 Race /Ethnicity
 Family constellation (single parent, nuclear,
extended, etc.)
 Heritage Languages spoken in your “family”
 Beliefs /Values especially about disability
What do all families have in common in terms of a
vision for their future?
 Love
 Health
 Friends
 Success (as they will define success)
 Happiness ( as they will define happiness)
Families: Cultural Diversity
“There exists no generic entity which may be
dubbed the Southeast Asian family, the Native
American family… each of these categories
encompasses numerous cultures, their individual
members may share tendencies in some areas and
not in others. Individuals and families will be
found to lie along different points of their cultural
continuum ( from traditional, for example to fully
bicultural). These are valid cultural distinctions
only in the very broadest sense of the term.”
Anderson & Fenichel, 1989, Zero to Three
Parent Perspective
“To make progress and have a family go in a
positive direction, the family has to feel valued…
that the information they are sharing is just as
important as is the information the professionals
are sharing…for the family to feel this is critical to
Linda Roan Yager ~ Parent
Family Stories
(S. Sanchez,1999)
By listening to family stories we can…
 Understand families’ experiences,
 Identify family strengths and resilience,
 Encourage the establishment of meaningful
relationships by understanding the interaction
between language and culture in the lives of
families, and
 Understand that all families are unique and need to
be respected for decisions they make.
Understanding Family
“It’s about walking in the shoes of another”
Take the risk ! Exchange shoes with the person next
to you. Can you walk in their shoes? Can you
understand who they are? Are they the same size?
Are they the same style? What do you understand
better about who this person is? What they value?
What does this tell you about this person next to
Learn About Family ~
Several representatives of families from
cultures different from the mainstream share
their stories with us so we might better
understand perspectives from each and every
family we might work with in. Let’s listen
and be open to similarities and differences
that can inform our practice. See questions
they are being asked to address on handout.
Would having this information change how
you or your team might meet their needs or
answer their questions in your practice.
Listening to Families
Thank you!
Thank you to these individuals who are willing to
share their perspectives and provoke discussion of
how we might better understand the relationship of
culture and family and how we might better meet
their children’s or communities’ needs
Patricia Maycott ~ PEAK Parent Center
Omar Nor ~ Somali Community Center
Yvette Plummer ~ CPRC
Siham Jodeh ~ Interpreter, Translator
Questions: Table Top Talk
 What did you hear from parents in terms of meeting
their child’s individual needs?
 What is challenging or concerning about their stories?
 How would your current assessment processes and
practices address their needs?
 How would your current procedures and practices
need to changed to be more responsive to cultural,
linguistic, or other differences.
 What supports would work for each and every family
being seen in your setting? This begs the question …
“Does one size fit all?”
 Trust
 Communication…Learn from family
 Positive reframe about child …Reassurance
 Privacy
 Shared expectations
 Others?
What is culture?
A continuation of the journey…
What is our understanding of the influence of culture
in building relationships with families? Diving Deeper
What is Culture?
“Everyone has a culture, but often individuals are not
aware of the behaviors, habits, and customs that are
culturally based” Hall, 1976
Each of us brings our own culture, values beliefs and
experiences to each relationship we build with
families…our background and experiences affect
everything we do…they provide us a “cultural lens”
through which we view how we ourselves raise our
children, how we organize our household, how we talk
and use language, how we view disability…we need to
enlarge our cultural lens to “wide angle” to
understand other’s experiences, values, and beliefs and
how these influence each and every family.
Another Definition
“Culture can be conceptualized as the specific
framework of meanings within which a population,
individually and as a group, shapes it life ways… it is
an ongoing process, within which individuals are
constantly reworking or trying out new ideas and
behaviors.” Anderson & Fenichel, 1989, Roberts
The Nature of Culture
 Culture is not static: it is dynamic and ever-changing
 Culture, language, ethnicity, and race are not the only
determinants of one’s values, beliefs, and behaviors
 In describing any culture or cultural practice, within group
differences are as great as across group differences
….sometimes greater.
 Dimensions of culture and ethnicity are typically frames in
terms of differences in relation to another group…the
majority/mainstream culture
 Everyone is the product of one or more cultures and everyone
has a culture
Lynch & Hanson,2004
Cultural Continuum
Where are you on a cultural continuum in respect to
values of:
 Extended Family ………….. Nuclear Family
 Inter-dependence …………..Individuality
 Nurturance …………………Independence
 Traditional ……………….. .. Technology
 Broad Ownership…………Individual & Specific
 Differentiated Rights………….Equality
 Harmony……………………..Control
Lynch & Hanson, 2004
Stages of Cultural Competence
 Cultural Awareness involves a providers sensitivity to his
or her personal beliefs, values and biases and how they
might influence perceptions of a family.
 Cultural knowledge involves providers seeking
information and knowledge of a family’s cultural world
view and expectations.
 Cultural skills involve the provider’s ability to intervene
in a manner that is culturally sensitive and relevant.
Sue, Ivey & Peterson, 1996
Cultural Competence
“Cultural competence is a term that describes what
happens when special knowledge about individuals
and groups of people is incorporated into standards,
policies, and practices. The process of achieving
cultural competence is one that leads not only to an
appreciation of families and their unique
backgrounds, but also to an increase in the quality
and effectiveness of services, producing better
 , copyright © 20072008 National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc.
Why is cultural competence important?
“Within an early childhood setting, cultural competence means
finding ways to infuse knowledge and appreciation of other
cultures into daily practice. Very often, early childhood
classrooms are filled with students from different cultural and
linguistic backgrounds, but the unique features of these
different cultural communities is not well understood by
educators and therefore not well integrated into classroom and
school-wide practice. Establishing cultural competence is an
ongoing and long-term process that demands enthusiasm and
curiosity about other cultures and a willingness to adapt
educational practices to mirror the values and special
characteristics of children and their families” RTI Action
How can you build it?
 Have a set of values and principles that recognize diversity;
 Demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, policies, and structures
that enable them to work effectively cross-culturally and
value diversity;
 Conduct self-assessment to ensure sensitivity to cultural
 Be committed to manage the "dynamics of difference;”
 Learn about and incorporate cultural knowledge into
practices, and
 Adapt to diversity and the cultural contexts of the
communities you serve.
Danger of Assumptions
“Cultural assumptions are beliefs which are so
completely accepted within the group that they do
not need to be stated, questioned, or
defended .”(Chen, et al, 1998)
CAVEAT ! However, there is danger in assuming that
because a family has certain cultural beliefs in
common that they can be stereotyped in terms of
adhering to all beliefs and patterns associated with
their culture.
Additive Attitudes
A sea change is needed so “each and every
child and family that comes with a rich cultural
legacy can be understood, respected, and
celebrated.”G. Gay, 2002
Impact: The Pérez-Méndez family from Mexico
celebrates and lives “la familia,” which
into family traditions, speaking their
language in their home, learning English
as a second language, and maintaining connections
with family that respect the “elders,” and four
generations of living relatives.
Subtractive Attitudes
Often, preserving home language and culture is not a
choice given subtractive attitudes towards families
who do not speak English fluently or who do not
adopt the life ways of the majority of English
speaking families in the community.
Impact: The Sanchez family children give up their
heritage language and traditions in order to avoid
discrimination visited upon the parents while they
were growing up. These parents were punished for
speaking their language of heritage in public schools
and do not want the same experience for their
Similarities and Differences
What do you know about cross cultural perspectives
about education, life ways, disability? Do you know
what questions to ask? Do you know how to ask
these questions?
African American, Anglo European American, Asian,
Hispanic Latino, Hmong, Indigenous American Nations
Korean, Somali…
What do you need to know? How will you find out?
Life Ways Activity: Continuity?
What were the key messages you received growing up in
your family of origin about:
 Early education and care
 Family
 Differences/diversity?
 New comers?
 People with disabilities?
Have your key messages changed? What will you pass on
to your children?
Dynamic Nature of Culture
Selected examples … Has it changed?
 “Babies should cry… it is good for their lungs”~ Aunt
 “Mother’s should stay home to care for their
babies…she is too young to go to school…She’s only
three years old” ~ Grandpa
 “Don’t tell anyone…keep it in the family” ~ My mother
 “They don’t belong here…they change the
neighborhood” ~ My father
 “Don’t stare at that child”~Your aunt
 “Those” poor children should be in special settings. ~ ?
Change over time…
“The context, [of a family story or of a culture], is
not a stagnant environment or a set of experiences
frozen in time. Changes in environment and
increased knowledge of how systems work are two
factors that cause sociohistorical context as well as
the person living within that context to change.”
Leistgna & Woodrum, 1996 quoted in Sanchez, 1999.
Moving Beyond Stereotypes
“ All families, in fact, vary greatly in the degree in
which their beliefs and practices are
representative of a particular culture, language
group, religious group, or country of origin.”
Eva Thorpe, 1997
Assimilation… Acculturation… &
Continuum of Cultural Identification
 Assimilation is when identified groups give up their
culture and adopt the mainstream values and beliefs of
the mainstream culture “mainstreamers”…
 Assimilation can be forced ( e.g. American government
& American Indians), or a reaction to fear of
discrimination and prejudice for many immigrant
populations, or a choice by those wanting to adopt the
life ways of the majority culture
 Described as a process from those who hold fast to
their traditional life ways and beliefs to those who
not only operate primarily with the dominant
culture, but adopt the standard values of the
mainstream culture…Families may move about on
this continuum ….often associated with choice
(bicultural) to maintain aspects of cultural identity
while adopting aspects of the mainstream or
dominant culture.
Culturally marginal individuals are those individuals
who essentially follow their own way and do not
identify with any particular cultural group . In
some instances rejecting their culture of heritage
but not accepting the vales life ways of the
mainstream, and thus are considered marginalized
from society
Factors of Influence
Implications for Practice
 Does this information about families and culture
change our understanding of individual
 What can we do the same and what can we do
differently to meet family needs?
 What are the factors of influence we recognize in
our own practice? Are we family-centered?
Family Centered Practices
“Family-centered practices are characterized by
beliefs and practices that treat families with dignity
and respect; practices that are individualized,
flexible, and responsive to family situations;
information sharing so that families can make
informed decisions; family choice regarding any
number of aspects of program practices and
intervention options; parent-professional
collaboration and partnerships…
Family Centered Practices
…as a context for family-program relations; and
the active involvement of families in mobilization
of resources and supports necessary for them to
care for and rear their children in ways that
produces optimal child, parent, and family
C. Dunst et al., 2008
Family Centered Practice
“The implementation of family centered practice
often seems like an elusive goal, even when
working with populations matching our own
backgrounds, but is further complicated when
working with culturally and linguistically diverse
populations whose views and language are
different from our own” Sanchez, 1999
Changing Demographics
How does this apply in our current
context or a changing world?
Macro vs. Micro View
Our Changing World: Macro
The rate of growth of DLLs in the school systems
has been dramatic over the past decade, with some
Southern states experiencing 300 to 400 percent
increases. In some parts of the country, more than
50 percent of the preschool population comes from
non-English-speaking homes.
Linda M. Espinosa, 2009.
Who are these children?
 Students who immigrated before kindergarten
 U.S.-born children of immigrants (native-born)
 76% of DLLs in grades K-8
 56% of DLLs in grades 9-12
(Batalova, Fix, and Murray, 2007)
By 2015, second generation children of immigrants
are expected to be 30% of the school-aged
What’s happened in Vermont?
(U.S. Department of Education, NCELA, 2007)
Most Common Languages
of Dual Language Learners…What about
your community?
Poverty and/or Language Difference as
a factor…
 What do we know about the impacts of poverty on
young children? (Hart & Risley, 1995)
 What do we know about children whose first
language is other than English? (Kohnert, 2008;
Espinoza, 2011, CLASP, 2005, Genesse, 2010; Castro
& Espinoza, 2011)
Micro View:
 An estimated nearly one in five children under age
5 (18.2%) were below poverty in 2010, almost
double the rate in 2000. Hispanic children under
age 18 were more than 3 times as likely to be in
poverty as were non-Hispanic children in 2010
(35.65% compared to 10.8%)
Paradigm Shift: Does attitude make a
Deficit Model: “closing the achievement gap,”
“children at risk,” “students who are
failing,”“drop outs”
Strengths-Based Paradigm Shift: Children who come
to school are rich in cultural legacy and are
as competent learners
G. Gay, 2005
More than Language
 Bilingualism: Research tells us….
 Advantages : cognitive, socioeconomic, educational
 Myths: Does not cause language delay
 What about self-identity, self esteem, and
connections with family?
Shift to Prevention:
Another influencing factor…
 “Waiting to fail” versus recognition of a learning
challenge with responses that may ameliorate or
prevent the occurrence of failure.
 RtI/R&R in Pre-K makes sense! How do we
implement in a family centered, culturally
responsive way?
Multi-tiered Framework
_ How it fits
Focus Points: Do we agree?
 Use research and evidence-based interventions
based upon intervention hierarchy or tiered
 Assess competently which includes gathering
information from multiple sources, ongoing progress
monitoring, and use of assessment data to inform
We can successfully teach children with diverse
cultural, linguistic, and learning characteristics if
 Intervene early…distinguishing between language
differences vs. language challenges… All ELLs may
need support
 Initiate practices that are family-centered,
culturally competent, and individualized
 instruction
Implications for Practice
Would you agree?
Each Parent and family benefits from:
 Respectful and trusting relationships with
providers based upon individual
 Meaningful engagement in all aspects of the
assessment process and educational
planning for their children
Implications for Practice (cont.)
 Educators and specialists who understand cultural
differences ( life ways, beliefs, expectations of
education, differences in child rearing practices,
language differences, concepts of assimilation and
acculturation, marginalization) are better prepared
to address unique characteristics of families they
work with.
 Educators and specialists that understand patterns
of 2nd language acquisition, influencing factors,
patterns of children internationally adopted and
who can distinguish language differences from
disorders are also better prepared to meet the
needs of children and families.
 Educators and specialists who share information
regarding current research about bilingualism
 Educators and specialists who listen to and
consider all background variables
 Educators and specialists who adopt non-biased or
anti-biased assessment practices
 Educators and specialists who link authentic
assessments to intervention as needed yet also
provide information about community resources
What Can I Do Personally to Become
More Culturally Responsive?
 Examine you own culture, beliefs, values and bias A Cultural
Journey Lynch & Hanson, 3th edition,2004
 Learn about other beliefs, life ways, values and history of
those from cultures different from your own. Move outside of
your comfort zone.
 Avoid assumptions and stereotypes and focus on
individualization through development of skilled dialogue
 from I. Barrera, L. Kramer, and D. MacPherson. Skilled
Dialogue for Responding to Cultural Diversity in Early
Childhood, Second edition. Copyright © 2012 by Paul H.
Brookes Publishing Co., Inc. Baltimore.
What else can I do?
 Learn from cultural mediators and from families by
listening to family stories Beyond Words
 Adopt “ethnographic” interviewing
strategies(Westby et al, 2003
) & Individualized Planning of Assessments:
Pathways, A Child & Family Journey, UCB.
 Read “working with culturally and lingusitcally
diverse families” from RTI Action network
What else?
 Recognize barriers to communication, cultural
dilemmas and advocate for and effectively use
cultural mediators, interpreters and translators
Beyond Words, or come
tomorrow afternoon
 Maintain relationships with families using culturally
competent, relevant, and meaningful Skilled
Dialogue and go to the 3rd space in a context of
anchored understanding…Barrera et al, 2012.
 Visit and read
chapters and articles by Moore & Pérez-Méndez
Parting Words:
Building Relationships of Trust
“What they need… they need to know about our
culture… how we raise our kids… what we do when
they are sick… when they are with adults… when
they eat, and when they go to school. They need to
learn how we think and feel as a family about our
kids.” Maria Sandoval ~ Parent
Develop Shared Expectations
Understand Family From Their
 Prior negative experience
 Impacts of disproportionate representation in
special education
 Moving beyond stereotypes about family
 Cultural conflicts based on expectation
discrepancies and experience
 Fear of discrimination and prejudice
Consider their Experience
Again, It’s About Individual
“All families, in fact, vary greatly in the degree in
which their beliefs and practices are
representative of a particular culture, language
group, religious group, or country of origin.”
Eva Thorp, 1997
Questions? Concerns? Discussion?
 It’s in Every One of Us!
 Please complete your evaluation of todays work
and have a productive day tomorrow!
Thank you!
Human Resources
Clara Pérez-Méndez
Puentes Culturales
Susan M. Moore
University of Colorado at Boulder

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