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Young_Hawkins_2006 - Journal of Applied Research in...

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Special Parenting and the Combined Skills Model Sadie Young * and Tim Hawkins   *Honeylands Children’s Centre, Exeter, UK,   The Young People’s Centre, Mount Gould Hospital, Plymouth, UK Accepted for publication 29 July 2005 Background The Child and Special Parenting Service pro- vides flexible assessment, long-term domiciliary support and home-based teaching to intellectually disabled par- ents. It provides key coordination between the Learning Disability Service and the Children’s Service with focussed parenting assessments, where issues of child care and protection proceedings arise. Method Semi-structured interviews and questionnaires were designed to evaluate user satisfaction for both recipients of the service and professionals referring to the service. Results A high level of consumer satisfaction was found and assessment reports were highly rated. The service is seen to help prevent family breakdown, to meet user needs and to be supportive and non-threatening by the parents. Conclusions The combined skills model proposes a small, specialized service that acts as a linchpin for complex cases that require skills from both child and learning disability workers. The Child and Special Parenting Ser- vice receives an increasing demand for assessment. It is highly valued by the users and works strongly from an inter-agency standpoint, coordinating complex packages of domiciliary assessment and support, and is a good practice model. Keywords: combined, disabilities, evaluation, flexible, intellectual, learning, model, parenting, special Introduction In the wake of the normalization movement and amidst the implementation of the Children Act (1989), care and support was to be delivered to clients in the community and the progressive philosophy of normalization empha- sized that people with intellectual disability should be afforded the same rights, responsibilities and opportunit- ies available to others. In conjunction with care in the community, the Children Act (1989) gave prominence to the enduring nature of parental responsibility, focussed on the primacy of children’s developmental welfare and shifted the emphasis from solely child care to a combined caring and a protective role. These significant changes in policy meant a steady growth in the number of adults with intellectual disability who chose to exercise their right to become a parent. Alongside these emergent num- bers, there has been a growing demand for assessment and support services and a welcome diversity of research including interest in social support, child outcomes, interventions beyond child-care training and the views of the parents themselves (Murphy & Feldman 2002). The government White Paper, ‘Valuing People: A New Strategy for the 21st Century’ (2001) states that, ‘the number of people with learning disabilities who are forming relationships and having children has steadily increased over the last 20 years’. It further states that ‘people with learning disability can be good enough
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  • Spring '11
  • ElizabethFilippi
  • Down syndrome, Mental retardation, Learning disability, Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

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