The original of this infographic can be found here: Sharing Your Story.
As families of kids with disabilities, we get asked to share our family story and our child’s story over and over again in different settings with different professionals. This infographic is meant to acknowledge the work that goes into sharing stories, gives communication tips to help get messages across and encourages storytellers to take care of themselves.
These tips can also be applied to other storytellers, like patients and caregivers. Please share this widely as a tool for advocates as they build their own toolkits of resources. It is helpful for clinicians, educators and other professionals to understand the complexities involved with asking people to tell their story too. I’ve been fortunate to have given workshops and presentations to audiences of families about The Art of Storytelling too. Stories are important. It isn’t just what you say, it is how and why you share stories too.
And now a little story of my own. This visual was designed by Karen Copeland, who has been a terrific colleague and friend. Karen is a mom to two teenagers and is no stranger to navigating systems of care or telling her story. She is passionate about providing families with the information and tools they need to be successful. Karen loves creating visuals to strengthen our key messages, hoping to frame information in a way that is easy to understand and impactful. You can see more of Karen’s visuals at her Champions for Community Wellness website.
I first met Karen when I moved to the west coast almost four years ago. I followed her on Twitter after reading her blog post called I am ‘that’ parent and connected with her immediately online because I’m that parent too.
Karen kindly agreed to meet me for coffee. I knew very few people here in British Columbia and I wanted to connect up with other moms for all the ‘peer support’ reasons (to share information and resources, for emotional support) but mostly because I was lonely and lost and needed a friend. Karen was my first mom friend here and I’ll never forget her generosity in taking the time to meet with me, a complete and total stranger who she had met on the Internet.
We met at a Starbucks and clicked immediately. We said we’d collaborate together one day and we have. She’s designed other infographics with my content: Sharing the News, Meaningful Family Engagement and Giving a Talk. We also travelled to Halifax together for a CFAN conference and she and I partnered to deliver presentations from a family perspective to groups of medical students. Karen has been a personal guiding light to me as she’s navigated her own balance of being a fierce advocate and caring for herself. She also was there for me as a listening friend when I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.
Our story is a testimonial to many things: how vital it is for families to be connected together, how ‘just’ moms are always more than just that – we all come with other professional skills. In Karen’s case, she has wicked design and storytelling talent of her own. Our story also speaks to the power of two moms bonding over lattes, which can be the engine for innovative collaborations. In fact, I think meaningful change in the world comes from these ‘kitchen table’ conversations and not from organizations or governments.
I’m deeply grateful for Karen and the other women I’ve met since I’ve become a mother 25 long years ago. We lift each other up. We believe in each other. Family to family connections can spark magic – Karen and I are evidence of that.