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  1. Valuing Families Working with families when parents have learning disabilities Meriden Conference

  2. FWA’s direct services: “work with individuals and families, helping to build on each individual’s strengths to overcome obstacles and to provide practical and emotional support when they are at their most vulnerable.” (Annual Report 2005-06) Meriden Conference

  3. What do we do? • Work in people’s 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 Meriden Conference

  4. 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.” Meriden Conference

  5. 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 child’s needs. However, we believe this should not be the result of agencies not arranging for timely and appropriate support.” Meriden Conference

  6. 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 Meriden Conference

  7. ‘Valuing Families’ • Supports families when parents have learning disabilities • We work with : • Parents • Children • Other family members • School • Other agencies Meriden Conference

  8. Entrimonh jifomt Mcusny hsin hshstg Social Services 8 Dhfkjd Road Town Mr and Mrs Freer Address Dear Mr and Mrs Freer Fu: Kelly Freer 3.3.02 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 Meriden Conference

  9. Three things parents with learning disabilities tell us: • “I didn’t know what they meant”   communication is often poor and written info is inaccessible • “They didn’t 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 Meriden Conference

  10. What we do • Not what but how we do it • Get alongside and agree how we’ll work • Befriend and reassure • Visit often and cheerfully • Get to know the children Meriden Conference

  11. Befriend and reassure • Agree goals • Agree with the family what we’ll work on together Meriden Conference

  12. Visit often and visit cheerfully  Family ABCDEFGHIJK Output Home visit2522115441531819 Telephone2810116450+1418281215 Meriden Conference

  13. 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) Meriden Conference

  14. For example - how might this help? Meriden Conference

  15. Find out about people’s 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 Meriden Conference

  16. 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 Meriden Conference

  17. ‘Joe doesn’t 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 An example Meriden Conference

  18. 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 Meriden Conference

  19. “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 Joe’s pyjamas were ready for when he got out and the worker read a bedtime story Meriden Conference

  20. 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 Meriden Conference

  21. 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 Meriden Conference

  22. Finally • Life is more predictable • there is more order • there are more times when family members have fun with each other Meriden Conference

  23. EVALUATION Meriden Conference

  24. Evaluation of services • Building Bridges model • Working with families affected by parental mental ill health (& learning disabilities where appropriate) • Data collected since 2004 • 6 month pilot • Adopted recognised evaluation tools Meriden Conference

  25. 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) Meriden Conference

  26. 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) Meriden Conference

  27. 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) Meriden Conference

  28. Health & social care professionals say: • “You sigh with relief when they get involved because they do what they say they’re going to do, and they go at the family’s pace.” • “BB family support workers give positive messages to families - they don’t get many of those.“ (Building Bridges evaluation interim report June 2006) Meriden Conference

  29. Valuing Families For more information, please contact: Rose de Paeztron, Head of Strategic Development Family Welfare Association Email: Tel: 07958 681555 Meriden Conference