Understanding and supporting parents who have learning difficulties
This paper Understanding and supporting parents who have learning difficulties addresses issues about how to provide effective support to families where one or both parents have a learning difficulty. This is a growing issue for professionals in health, education and welfare agencies. Unfortunately, the idea that parents with an intellectual disability are incapable of being adequate parents is a widely held view in the community. It is often wrongly assumed that child abuse or neglect is an inevitable consequence of parenting by parents with an intellectual disability.
Historically, such negative perceptions, combined with a paucity of scientific research in the area, have acted as barriers to reaching a constructive and informed understanding of the nature and challenges of parenting in the context of learning difficulties.
As more and more of these families are presenting to health and welface agencies for assistance, there is increasing urgency for a systematic, coherent and practical aproach to the development of effective practice.
Understanding and supporting parents who have learning difficulties uses contemporary thinking, the latest research, and our own clinical experience. The paper identifies factors contributing to an over-representation of parents with learning difficulties in the child protection system. It also addresses issues related to the design and implementation of effective supports, specifically discussing clinical strategies that have shown promise in assessment and skills development programs.