Collaboration

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For some readers, a consistent theme may have been clear during my past two blog posts. Whether my focus was long-term

IEP goals

or

unity among people with disabilities,

a theme I tried to emphasize is collaboration. Collaboration can help people come to an understanding. . In this article, I will share collaboration tips, collaboration examples and a collaboration story.

 

A major part of collaboration is identifying what can be agreed upon. I recognize that for some individuals or groups, this may seem difficult or impossible. One collaboration strategy I have learned is to ask specific questions. For example: “What happened?”, then summarize points where two people agree. A second crucial step is finding a way forward. If someone says he/she has made a suggestion or decision which others can agree to, that may be the path to collaboration. It may be helpful to make a plan of action in advance, when possible. I will now provide some disability-specific resources.

 

One example of collaboration is documented in an article by the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. In a blog post entitled

“Employment and Disability Collaboration at RIT”,

the author shares how the RIT offices of career services and support services for students with disabilities collaborate. The two offices share their knowledge to assist students with disabilities to find employment opportunities. They have also, according to the article, provided Internet content which can assist employers recruit students with disabilities and hiring resources for students with disabilities. The takeaway for me after reading the article was RIT’s focus on helping both students and employers. Another collaboration example can be found on the web site of Autistic Self Advocacy Network. In a description of

ASAN history,

the organization states that a large part of their technical assistance and organizing focus on the disability community in general, rather than one specific disability. They also value collaborating with other organizations. The takeaway for me was the needs of various disability groups all should be focused on because all disabilities are important. I will end this blog post with a personal collaboration story.

 

I have a condition called non-24 which primarily affects sleep patterns of blind people. For months, I could not find a satisfactory resolution. This included a medical remedy I learned about through my own research which sounded promising at first. I then learned about the expensive monthly price. Additionally, I was not comfortable with some statements on documentation provided by the medication’s manufacturer. I eventually communicated with my doctor and identified non-24 coping strategies which my primary care physician supported. Collaboration can bring a positive outcome in some situations, even difficult ones.

 

Question for readers: What strategies do you use when collaborating with other people? I will return next week with another article.

 

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