“Multi-agency working brings together practitioners from different sectors and professions to provide an integrated way of working to support children, young people and families. ” (DfES, 2001) In this essay my aim is to demonstrate an understanding of the collaborative skills required for effective multi professional practice. I will include feedback following a group presentation that I took part in and give my personal reflections of the process. I will then identify the issues and barriers in effecting multi professional practice linking to theory and legislation in Special Educational Needs (SEN)
The Every Child Matters, (2004) agenda promotes effective multi- agency working and sharing of information between agencies, and Lord Laming stated that “effective support for children and families cannot be achieved by a single agency acting alone. It depends on a number of agencies working well together. ” Multi- agency working is the involvement of more than one agency, and a team may consist of practitioners from several professional backgrounds who have different areas of expertise. Some of the practitioners may include health, education and social services.
Some of these practitioners and professionals are involved in a child’s life are usually at least the child’s parents and the class teacher. This could then expand out to involve a speech therapist, a doctor, a social worker, a nurse and/or a psychologist. All of these people have an interest in helping to support the child and therefore all need to collaborate together for the benefit of the individual children. Speech and language therapists (SLT) are usually provided by the health services and provide formal assessment for pupils experiencing language and communication difficulties.
They implement language and communication programmes with individuals and groups. They offer advice and support and assist with target setting and strategies According to Tassoni, (2003, p79) “the type of support that a child receives will depend on his or her need, but usually exercises and strategies are shared with everyone involved in the child’s care and education, especially parents” In my current role as a Speech and language therapy Assistant, (SLTA) I regularly liaise with the SLT and help to set some of the ndividual targets and provide appropriate resources to help the children to achieve their targets as well as implement programs set.
As part of my role of a SLTA I work as part of a communication and learning team and have worked alongside many multi professionals, class teachers, learning support assistants, (LSA) in the school and a social worker. In the office in which I am based, each team member has their own individual skills and expertise that create a multi-skilled approach to support other team members, members of staff, students, parents and other professionals.
The team consists of Teachers and Specialist Support Staff skilled in specific areas, SLT, an Occupational Therapists (OT) Early Years support worker and a Parent Support Advisor. As highlighted by the College of Occupational Therapists, (2011) Collaborative working within a multi-professional team can be the “most effective and efficient way to combine the skills of many professionals for the benefit of service users. ”
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