experiences of parents with developmental disabilities may take their toll over
time, especially if others have negatively valued the parents.
Over time, parents may have internalized these negative expectations.
Parents with developmental disabilities may report:
Learning Style Differences
Which May Have Resulted In
caseworker must patiently establish a positive, trusting relationship.
Past experiences may have left the parent very distrustful of authority
figures. Parents may initially feel
quite intimated and fearful. They
may even deny or minimize the difficulties in an attempt to please the caseworker.
Caseworkers should remember:
must pay attention to the basic survival needs of the family.
The parent may be preoccupied with survival issues, including a sense of
security and belonging. These issues must be addressed first or they will distract
from the focus on parenting issues. The
caseworker may provide referrals to appropriate community agencies.
They should assist with the applications.
The parent may need help and may be too embarrassed to ask for help.
Make sure the expectations of the treatment plan
PARENT'S LEARNING STYLE
the special education model. Children
with learning problems are not expected to learn to read at grade level after a
six-week crash course in reading. Special
education stresses individual learning goals that reflect sequential steps that
are paced over time.
sure the expectations are realistic!
IS NO CRASH COURSE IN PARENTING FOR THIS POPULATION.
METHODS AND MATERIALS MUST BE APPROPRIATE AND PROVIDED BY TRAINED
sure the expectations are reasonable.
Explicit, intensive-training methods should be geared to individual
needs! Beginning strategies could
sure the expectations and the process is fair.
After all, what is success?
Success is giving the parent a fair chance to make necessary changes, whether this results in out-of-home placement or the child remaining at home.
you look beyond the diagnosis and the stereotype?
you put yourself in the parent's situation?
How would you feel as a person with a developmental disability?
you communicate that you respect the parent as a person of value?
you really believe this parent is your equal and has knowledge and expertise
about his or her own child?
you listen to the parent and avoid using jargon and technical terminology?
you value and respect the parent's time as much as your own by keeping
appointments and returning phone calls in a timely manner?
you follow through on your commitments to the family, modeling consistency and
you suspend judgment in conversation wit the parent, avoiding critical or
you make every effort to steer families toward solutions and resources and give
the parent a fair chance to success?
you obtain information from other service providers that will help identify the
needs of the family and the appropriate strategies for intervention?
you have sufficient knowledge of parents with developmental disabilities to
ethically treat or provide services to this family?
This information may be reproduced but not altered in any way. Excerpted from the training curriculum, "Working with Families with Children/Parents with Developmental Disabilities". Developed by Natasha Green, B.A. and Virginia Cruz, D.S.W., The Social Work Program, Metropolitan State College of Denver, PO Box 173362, Campus Box 70, Denver, Colorado, 80217. E-mail: Info@DevelopmentalDisability.org
Copyright © 2003 Last Modified: June 4, 2004