Image: C2 holds a sign that I received at START training. It says "Saying this will not work is NOT an option." The sign was meant to remind school teams that they should consider all ideas while attempting to problem solve.
The teams that are built to support any student with an Individualized Educational Plan can be large. The size of the team depends on the needs of the student. My child's team that attends START includes me, his special education teacher, his general education teacher, his principal, his occupational therapist, and his speech therapist. He also has a social worker and a physical therapist.
I'm fortunate that I have a team that gets along well, but I know that we all have heard stories where this isn't always the case. There can be personality conflicts or conflicting ideas of what should happen. Or, even if everyone gets along, a meeting can be run so inefficiently that nothing is accomplished. Hence, it is in the best interest of everyone that meetings go smoothing in order to identify and solve problems interfering with the student's learning process and accomplishment of goals.
That is why we were trained immediately in Meeting Mechanics, which was a primary focus for Module 1. We learned problem identification, problem specification, brainstorming, clustering/prioritizing, identifying implementation variables, and assigning responsibilities.
We were taught to perceive all team members as equal regardless of position and that "all ideas are good ideas" (well at least until they are fully deliberated by the team. The "all ideas are good ideas" rule is meant to give everyone a chance to present their ideas to the team without feeling intimidated. We were also taught to avoid sidebar conversations, which are little conversations in the group that doesn't include everyone.
I realize this post doesn't fully cover or explain the notion of Meeting Mechanics, but what I do want to point out is that this system does seem like an efficient and fair way to run meetings. I believe that all teams working to support a student with autism should be trained in this or something similar to make sure that the student's needs are addressed. So far, I am impressed.