Growing Roots — Professional Development Program

Professional Development Program

  • Impact
    • Provided five trainings to 122 community disability providers
      • 90% reported having learned strategies to increase cultural competence
      • 85% reported learning about empowering families to connect to community resources via collaborative relationship building
      • 100% reported learning to better support parents’ emotional journey with disability
    • Providers averaged caseloads of 20 children, creating a ripple effect to 2,440 families
    • Families benefitted from having a provider who:
      • Became family-centered in their service delivery
      • Had a better understanding of community resources for families of children
      • Learn about grief and emotional processing of disability
      • Learn about differences related to disability in Spanish versus English-speaking families
    • Training feedback demonstrated the effectiveness of project approaches, participants reported:
      • “I had no idea that the families I work with may be grieving a loss of what they expected, I can now bring more humanity to my work.”
      • “I now understand why the extended family in the home is uncertain about my presence, I represent something unknown to them in terms of disability services in the home.”
    • All participants reported learning of at least five new resources they could share with families on their caseloads
      • Most reported never having received training on disability-specific community resources

Statewide Need
More than half of Texans are Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian or Native American and are less likely to receive the services and support their family needs. We can better understand the different values, cultures, and customs in Texas to inform the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities’ future advocacy work, planning and grant project development. We hope to do this by building relationships with organizations that are working to improve the lives of individuals from ethnic minority cultures, to support leaders to change the systems that provide supports and services, and to assist people of ethnic minorities who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to have better access to services and supports.

Project Goal
Provide training for disability service providers to make their services more culturally appropriate and improve the quality of service delivery, communication, and carry-over of goals to improve outcomes for the person with special needs.

Project Summary
Five trainings were provided to 122 community disability providers. Providers included speech, physical, and occupational therapists as well as service coordinators, social workers, and special education teachers. Feedback from providers in terms of content learned and how their services will shift was indicative of improving service delivery for families of children with special needs.

Providers learned about community resources and Medicaid waivers. They received strategies to increase cultural humility. Trainings focused on embedding important conversations about stigma, grief, and culture. Feedback demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach. Participants reported learning about new community resources to share with caseload families. Most had never had training on disability-specific community resources. Providers heard from parents directly, allowing them to understand day-to-day responsibilities of the participants.

This project enhanced Growing Roots’ service delivery model through partnership building and parent recruitment for other programming. Sharing information directly with providers led to increased referrals and partnerships. Creating ongoing partnerships can drive systemic change; having an entire agency staff trained enables culture shift to provide family-centered and culturally competent services.

Training providers to better serve families improves the provider-parent relationship which emphasizes goals to promote improved outcomes for children with IDD. A more comprehensive perspective of disability services impacts providers’ work, their interactions with families, and can lead to changes in perspectives related to IDD.

Project Period
Mar 2012 – Feb 2017

2912 E. 17th St.,
Bldg. D, Suite 4
Austin, TX 78702

Geographic Reach
Austin, Texas and surrounding counties, Travis, Williamson, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop, Burnet and Blanco counties

shape of state of Texas in blue with Williamson, Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop, Burnet and Blanco counties colored orange