Special educational needs mediation
For many families, the struggle to provide for a deaf child, or an illness, or autism leads to unrelenting care, the stress of which can spill over into relationships at school for both the young people and their parents. Over 12 years of mediating between local authorities, schools, teachers and these families, I was repeatedly moved as the chance for real communication and working together emerged during the process, replacing a sense of isolation and marginalisation.
Working through Community Resolve, colleagues and I developed Crucial Conversations, an intergenerational mediation practice which brought together adult and teen mediators to work with parents and teenagers at the point of homelessness. This innovative model was designed specifically to overcome the unhelpful power dynamics often present in work with troubled teens, where a barrage of well-meaning adults are lined up to put them straight. Here, the mediator team mirrored good communication across the generations, and provided someone for the young person to talk to at their own level.
Unifying sibling groups
I am currently developing a new mediation practice to support families, alongside longtime colleague and mediator Anne Lukens. This is to be offered to adult sibling groups who need to overcome poor relationships, often based in childhood resentments, to work together to support ageing parents. It provides a listening ear for each sibling individually, and then brings everyone together for a relaxed and comfortable facilitated meeting, followed by a shared meal.