DDNJ Podcast: Communication and Collaboration

By Jenna Olson | November 11, 2022

An interview with Tabitha Pacheco and Dr. Robert Morgan

potrait of dr bob morgan and tabitha pachecoA full transcript of this episode is available in English and Spanish.

In the most recent episode of the Developmental Disabilities Network Journal's podcast, Author Insights, Dr. Robert Morgan and Tabitha Pacheco explore the importance of communication and collaboration in transition services.

Dr. Morgan explained how crucial collaboration is in the lives of young adults, “When a team of collaborators work together, transition can be successful; if they're not working together, youth and young adults really struggle.” Interagency collaboration is not simply about having a meeting. “To be really effective, every member needs to know the roles and responsibilities of every other member so that there are no gaps or overlaps.”

Pacheco and Dr. Morgan co-authored the article, “Collaboration between Secondary Special Education Teachers and Community Rehabilitation Service Providers: A Focus Group Analysis” in the latest issue of DDNJ. Executive Director Matthew Wappett hosted the episode.

Their research involved teachers and community rehabilitation providers.  The individuals participated in focus groups to help answer the questions, “Do they know what each other's doing? What are their current collaboration practices? What barriers are there?”

Pacheco said, “It was always shocking that they'd show up at this focus group, and they had never met each other. They had never talked to each other. And they had been working with the same students for years sometimes.” Dr. Morgan added, “Finally, they had a forum where they could meet each other. That's exactly what interagency collaboration is all about.”

In addition to Dr. Morgan and Pacheco’s work, there is incredible work happening across Utah. Pacheco said, “At the state, all the agencies are working together. […] It’s exciting. Hopefully, we will start to see the results of that work in this next school year and years coming as we make it easier to collaborate.”

Dr. Wappett ended the conversation with a reminder from Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has.” Dr. Morgan, Pacheco, and their colleagues are committed individuals who are making a difference through communication and collaboration.

You can learn more about the journal and its companion podcast on our website. Subscribe to DDNJ Author Insights on Apple PodcastsSpotify and Google Podcasts.

About the Authors

Bob Morgan is a Professor in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation at Utah State University. He is the Head of the Masters Program Committee and the Severe Disabilities Licensure Program. Bob worked in classrooms for elementary and secondary-aged students as a School Psychologist and Behavior Specialist for 12 years. His research focuses on transition of students with disabilities from school to adult services.

Tabitha is Director of the Utah Teachers Fellows program, working with educators to develop their leadership and policy expertise. She works as the Utah State Board of Education’s Special Education Mentor Specialist. Tabitha Pacheco has worked in public, charter, and digital education settings as a Teacher, Instructional Coach, Mentor, Special Education Director, and Educational Consultant. She earned her M.Ed in Special Education from Utah State University and is a National Board Certified Teacher in Exceptional Needs.

They co-authored the article, “Collaboration between Secondary Special Education Teachers and Community Rehabilitation Service Providers: A Focus Group Analysis” in the latest issue of DDNJ.

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