Supporting parents of disabled children

Guest post from Jackie Logue – Scope Early Years Training Manager and the author of Working with parents: Of Children with Additional Needs (Inclusion).

At the Kidz South conference, Scope Early Years Training Manager Jackie Logue gave a presentation called Parent Support to help professionals who work with disabled children to:

  • understand the needs of parents and the wider family through diagnosis and beyond
  • learn more about breaking down barriers between parents and professionals
  • recognise the importance of valuing the child

Through diagnosis and beyond

Jackie, as the mother of a daughter with complex needs and as a Portage worker, has seen the relationship between parents and professionals from both sides.

What parents mean when they say they are “fine”

  • Fed up
  • Insecure
  • Neurotic
  • Emotional exhausted

Breaking down barriers between parents and professionals

Parents and professionals, Jackie said, often want the same things but sometimes they are at cross-purposes.

  • Turn up on time for appointments
  • Cancel if you can’t attend
  • Ensure family understands what is said at meetings
  • Do you check parents understanding of your role and what you can do?
  • Do you always pass on information you promised to get them?

Tips for professionals working with families of disabled children

  • Keep an open mind
  • All children are unique
  • Share information sensitively and honestly
  • Carry out your promises
  • Little things count
  • Encourage parents to ask questions
  • Be prepared for conflicting views
  • All parents/carers are different and will want different things
  • Ask what information they want to know and in what format
  • Take time to listen
  • Don’t judge
  • Be honest, be positive