New Research Confirms Positive Impact of Parents Plus Programme on Special Needs Children with Intellectual Disabilities and their Families
Parents Plus, a leading provider of evidence-based parenting programmes for services, has released new research showing the positive impact of their Special Needs Programme on children with special needs and their families.
The research, conducted by Dr Suzanne McMahon and colleagues at the School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, and published in the Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, evaluated the effectiveness of the Parents Plus Special Needs Programme (PPSN), a seven-week parenting group intervention for parents of adolescents with intellectual disabilities.
In a cluster randomised controlled trial, 24 intellectual disability services supporting families of adolescents with an intellectual disability were assigned to PPSN (12 services; 141 parents) or a waitlist control group (12 services; 136 parents). Primary outcomes were parent-reported parenting practices, family adjustment, problem behaviours, emotional problems, and prosocial behaviours. Secondary outcomes were parental satisfaction, parental self-efficacy, and goal attainment.
Improved Child Outcomes. The programme effectively improves children’s behaviour, emotional regulation, and social skills. Parents reported that their children showed significant improvements in these areas, including better communication, increased ability to express emotions appropriately, and improved social interaction with peers.
The programme effectively improves children’s behaviour, emotional regulation, and social skills. Parents reported that their children showed significant improvements in these areas, including better communication, increased ability to express emotions appropriately, and improved social interaction with peers.
Enhanced Parental Wellbeing: The programme also had a positive impact on the mental health and well-being of parents, reducing their stress levels and improving their relationships with their children. Parents reported feeling more connected to their children and more able to enjoy their time together.
Improved Professional Practice: Professionals who received training in the programme reported feeling more knowledgeable and confident in supporting families of children with special needs. They also reported that the programme provided them with practical strategies and tools that they could use in their work with families.
The Parents Plus Special Needs Programme is a 6-8 week group-based intervention designed to support professionals working with parents and carers of children with intellectual disabilities including developmental disabilities such as autism, and ADHD. Delivered by trained professionals working in the community, education, health and disability services the programme focuses on reducing stress and supporting parent and child well-being.
Commenting on the research, Dr John Sharry, Founder and Clinical Director of Parents Plus, said: “We are thrilled with the positive results of this research. The Special Needs Programme was developed in partnership with families and disability services and has always been grounded in evidence-based practice, and this study shows that it is a powerful tool for promoting the well-being of children and families. We are delighted to see that it is making a real difference in their lives.”
Ciara Ni Raghallaigh, Parents Plus Special Needs Programme Coordinator says of the research “Clinicians and therapists working with children and families who are facing the challenges of raising a child with special needs will be heartened by this recent research. As someone who has worked in disability services for many years using Parents Plus programmes, I have seen first-hand the transformative impact that this programme can have on families, and I am delighted that this research has provided further validation of its effectiveness.”
With the prevalence of special needs children increasing worldwide, the findings of this research highlight the importance of evidence-based interventions that ensure services are supporting parents and carers in promoting positive outcomes for children with special needs. The Parents Plus Special Needs Programme provides a valuable resource for professionals working with children and adolescents with special needs and their families.
Earlier this year our CEO, Cherie Tyner and Ciara Ni Raghallaigh, Special Needs Programme Co-Ordinator had the honour of presenting to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Disability Matters for consideration of Family Centred Practice and Parent Training Interventions. You can read about this important day for our organisation and this unique and vital programme here.
The Parents Plus Special Needs Programme is practical, solution-focused and draws on parents strengths. It is suitable for professionals including social workers, therapists, teachers to assist parents who are raising an older child or adolescent with a mild, moderate or severe intellectual disability, and who may also have an additional diagnosis, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or a physical disability.
See here or click the image below for more information on the Special Needs programme.