At the cooperation stage, agencies are beginning to establish professional relationships (e.g., know each other well enough that they feel comfortable calling to ask for help) and communication is becoming more formal (Frey et al., 2006). They share information and exert some effort to limit duplication of similar resources. They are also gaining a better understanding of the services offered by each other’s organization and the strengths of their personnel. The strategies below illustrate interactions among state deaf-blind projects and parent centers that are consistent with this level.
Involve state deaf-blind project family specialists
Relationships between state deaf-blind projects and parent centers are often facilitated by state project family specialists. They can serve as a bridge between the two agencies.
Our deaf-blind project’s family specialists have had long-term relationships with the parent center, both personally and professionally. They attend parent center trainings, forums, and annual conferences and encourage other PA families to do the same. In addition, the project hosts a family listserv. The family specialist who moderates it disseminates parent center information and announcements on an ongoing basis. —Pennsylvania
Attend each other’s events
Attending events (e.g., workshops, parent weekends) provides opportunities to learn about the services of the other project and identify areas where collaboration is needed and likely to be beneficial.
Sharing project materials, such as factsheets, brochures, and announcements, is an easy way to begin to work together and stay up to date on each project’s activities.