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Keys To The Door

Guidance for Facilitators
Some of the following may be helpful to you, even if you are an experienced facilitator.

Guidance notes

  • Supporting emotional responses

  • Keeping the discussion going

  • 'Active listening'

  • Reflective questions for film and video clips

  • Thoughts and comments

Supporting emotional responses

Given the nature of the topics included in the film, some people might become upset. This is a natural response to the issues being discussed. As the facilitator it is important that you think through the possibility of this before beginning the session and discuss with your group how they would like you to behave.  

It would be useful to 'flag up' the emotional content of the film and clips, "some of you might find the experiences that the parents share in these clips quite emotional" and link it to developing and agreeing some ground rules at the start that can include –

  • "how we will behave towards each other if we become upset"

  • agreed behaviours e.g. acknowledge what is happening, focus or not focus on the person who is expressing their emotion, take a break etc

Keeping the discussion going

Off camera Maureen, Hels and Claire pose a number of questions to the parents to get the conversation started. In the film they say very little but use eye contact, head nodding and some sounds to let the other person know they are listening. You will probably know this as 'active listening'.

Active listening

Being listened to and heard is something that we all need to experience. Parents tell us that they don't always feel that this is happening when they are talking to professionals (or parents of non-disabled children and adults).  It is important that we learn to give people the attention they need. 

If you find yourself with a parent repeating themselves to you, it might be worth considering the following - 

"Is this happening because they don't feel heard by me?"

"Do they feel they need to say this again because I have not acknowledged what they have said?"

“Am I too quick to come up with a 'solution' i.e. tell them what I do in their situation (which I'm not in actually), rather than listening to what they are saying and the feelings behind the words?" 

"Am I 'checking out’ what I am hearing by saying 'this is what I heard, Have I got it right?’ If I do this and share my understanding we can catch any misinterpretations early"

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