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20 March 2007Meriden Conference Valuing Families Working with families when parents have learning disabilities.

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Presentation on theme: "20 March 2007Meriden Conference Valuing Families Working with families when parents have learning disabilities."— Presentation transcript:

1 20 March 2007Meriden Conference Valuing Families Working with families when parents have learning disabilities

2 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 FWAs direct services: work with individuals and families, helping to build on each individuals strengths to overcome obstacles and to provide practical and emotional support when they are at their most vulnerable. (Annual Report )

3 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 What do we do? Work in peoples own homes: Engage with and build relationships Provide models of behaviour Prevent crisis Contain Monitor – alert other services if needed Befriend Value and increase self-esteem Involve Opportunities to develop

4 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Valuing People: a new strategy for learning disability (HMSO 2001) People with learning disabilities can be good parents and provide their children with a good start in life, but may require considerable help to do so.

5 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Valuing People: a new strategy for learning disability (HMSO 2001) …in some circumstances a parent with learning disabilities will not be able to meet their childs needs. However, we believe this should not be the result of agencies not arranging for timely and appropriate support.

6 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Barriers for parents Stigma Fear (disability/losing children) Uncertainty & complexity Feeling on trial about parenting abilities Support for parenting skills and/or capacity Impossibility of parenting without family and social networks Access & reuniting with children Recovery impeded by anxiety

7 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Valuing Families Supports families when parents have learning disabilities We work with : Parents Children Other family members School Other agencies

8 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 We work with families In their homes In their localities Where they are Where they need us (at meetings, at the doctors, in the park, at the school gates, in court)

9 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Entrimonh jifomt Mcusny hsin hshstg Social Services 8 Dhfkjd Road Town Mr and Mrs Freer Address Dear Mr and Mrs Freer Fu: Kelly Freer I write thfi trh you hsuin fjdoin mef a aksldui fdjiun fghd playgroup Mrs Smith. Dfsgu nsonub hjdky bshjki oshk time. Also nchim hjskut thsiung strangers snjkdth. Mrs Smith also hdkld nshkslworried hsjskelcmdh ksnhuj hjdye hhehglice (nits). Mkajuo losju hinsu gdhtj whsiuny dhsun coat. Hsjit snhe talk hfjudy social services shfkjdl gdfbncjek jo help. Agshi ndjku njkjhgfdfeio ldskjv ldsk dhdjo visop jk on Tuseday 1.30 p.m. Ghusim jsnjkd lejahty fsji your jsndhu. Best hwishd J. Johnson Social worker

10 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Three things parents with learning disabilities tell us: I didnt know what they meant communication is often poor and written info is inaccessible They didnt help, just told me to do better unrealistic expectations of them but no practical help They were waiting for me to get it wrong feel set up to fail

11 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 What we do Not what but how we do it Get alongside and agree how well work Befriend and reassure Visit often and cheerfully Get to know the children

12 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Befriend and reassure Agree goals Agree with the family what well work on together

13 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Visit often and visit cheerfully Family A B C D E F G H I J K Output Home visit Telephone

14 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Get to know the children and help them to: understand their situation have more fun control the things they can control (belongings, school uniform etc)

15 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 For example - how might this help?

16 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Find out about peoples learning styles Not too complicated: Some people learn best if you do it with them Some if you show them first Some if you tell them how and leave them to it But you have to get to know them to find out

17 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Break things down into manageable chunks Help break down routine tasks into their component parts Reinforce learning so it sticks Give praise and encouragement Be firm but kind Believe in learning possibilities not just disabilities

18 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 An example Joe doesnt like putting his uniform on do you lay them out for him or does he have to get them himself? I get them for him have you tried getting him to lay them out on a chair after his bath and before he goes to bed? his bath??… NB this information would not have emerged without a trusting relationship between parent and worker

19 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 A first bathtime at 6 years old Session 1 The worker and Mrs B: went to the shops and bought Spiderman bubble bath, shampoo, bath toys etc bought Joe some character underpants (so he could choose which ones to wear when he was getting himself dressed – reducing conflict and increasing his motivation to get ready for school) talked to Joe about having a bath – he was wary but interested

20 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Splish splash… Session 2 the worker made sure Mrs B had a clean towel ready she showed Mrs B how to run the bath (cold in first) and how much bubble bath to put in they encouraged Joe to get into the bath with the lure of the bath toys the worker showed Mrs B how to wash his hair without it hurting his eyes Joe enjoyed his bath the worker made sure Joes pyjamas were ready for when he got out and the worker read a bedtime story

21 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 I was having a bath… Session 3 the worker got Mrs B to run the bath and to check the temperature Joe needed no encouragement to get in the worker reminded Mrs B how to wash his hair they both enjoyed the bath-time

22 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Family stability Fewer arguments and conflict Parents not involving children in adult decision- making Mealtimes, with reasonably healthy meals Reasonable levels of cleanliness and hygiene Times when the family have fun together Better relationships with neighbours Better working relationships with the agencies involved with a family – e.g. school, G.P etc

23 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Finally Life is more predictable there is more order there are more times when family members have fun with each other

24 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 EVALUATION

25 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Evaluation of services Building Bridges model Working with families affected by parental mental ill health (& learning disabilities where appropriate) Data collected since month pilot Adopted recognised evaluation tools

26 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Evaluation: outcomes and feedback from other professionals: "They work with families that most other voluntary sector agencies don't - people who have complex problems - and they provide the kind of service which really helps." FWA Building Bridges use the practical, flexible and partnership approach which research indicates is valued by parents. (Building Bridges evaluation interim report June 2006)

27 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Evaluation: early outcomes 62% decrease in family relationship stress 71% increased satisfaction for parents 60% children improved self-esteem/reduced depression At start, over 50% show clinically significant stress At close: 78% show reduction in stress (Building Bridges evaluation interim report June 2006)

28 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Evaluation: outcomes and feedback BB projects exhibit characteristics found by research to be key to successful interventions. These include: close attention to getting, keeping and engaging parents a strong theory base more than one method of delivery working with both parents and children (Building Bridges evaluation interim report June 2006)

29 Meriden Conference 20 March 2007 Health & social care professionals say: You sigh with relief when they get involved because they do what they say theyre going to do, and they go at the familys pace. BB family support workers give positive messages to families - they dont get many of those. (Building Bridges evaluation interim report June 2006)

30 20 March 2007Meriden Conference Valuing Families For more information, please contact: Rose de Paeztron, Head of Strategic Development Family Welfare Association Tel:


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