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Insider's guide to brining up children with special needs: evaluation of the Amaze parent support course

By Angela Hart and S. Virgo

Abstract

Summary of key findings\ud \ud What do we already know about this topic? Over the past decade, parent support courses have gained a very positive reputation in policy, practice and research. They are generally considered helpful by parents, and objective studies report that in many different situations such courses have a positive effect on parenting.\ud o Parents of children with special needs face particular challenges.\ud o There are hardly any support courses that specifically target parents of children with special needs.\ud o In children’s services work with parents more widely there is a growing emphasis on parent-professional partnerships. Most parenting support courses however, are facilitated by professionals.\ud \ud What does this project add?\ud \ud o The Insiders’ Guide parent support course is aimed specifically at parents of children with special needs.\ud o The course goes a long way to meeting their learning and support needs.\ud o It facilitated positive changes in parental confidence and competence (especially for those parents starting off feeling very unconfident).\ud o The course was oversubscribed, popular with parents (including parents who would not normally attend such courses), and had a very low drop out rate.\ud o The Insiders’ Guide course is co-facilitated by parents and professionals.\ud o Course facilitators valued the experience and most felt that it improved their parenting and/or practice.\ud o The evaluation provides evidence to suggest that the parent-professional facilitator partnership model is effective.\ud \ud o What do we still need to find out?\ud o How the Insiders’ Guide matches up when directly compared to other forms of parenting support.\ud o Whether or not the positive effect of the course is sustained over time.\ud o Whether a group of entirely unconfident parents would find the course helpful.\ud \ud What aspects of the course would it be most worth taking away and copying in other contexts?\ud \ud o Parent support course planners might usefully note that the combination of support, psychological reflection, information and education worked well.\ud o It is worth investing in the detail. Pre-visiting prospective course participants in their own homes prior to them signing up is particularly helpful for getting less confident parents along to the course. Providing nice refreshments, a pleasant environment and a take home gift were highly appreciated.\ud o The co-delivery model of the course (by a professional and a parent facilitator) was very effective and popular with participants and facilitators. It could be harnessed by children’s services to meet policy and practice objectives of partnership working in other contexts.\ud o Intensive co-training of facilitators appears to be crucial in ensuring this success

Topics: B700 Nursing and Midwifery
Publisher: Amaze
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.brighton.ac.uk:4704

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