Supporting Families With Parents With Intellectual Disability: Views and Experiences of Professionals in the Field
Article first published online: 8 SEP 2011
© 2011 International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Volume 8, Issue 3, pages 163–171, September 2011
How to Cite
Starke, M. (2011), Supporting Families With Parents With Intellectual Disability: Views and Experiences of Professionals in the Field. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 8: 163–171. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-1130.2011.00306.x
- Issue published online: 8 SEP 2011
- Article first published online: 8 SEP 2011
- Received May 7, 2010; accepted June 28, 2011
- intellectual disability;
- parents with intellectual disability;
- practice experiences;
- social representations
Professionals and parents with intellectual disability often disagree on what support is needed and how it should be provided. Parents report having little say in the matter, feeling coerced into accepting services that they do not find useful. Professionals may describe the parents as difficult to engage and not open to receiving help. The aim of this article was to capture the views and experiences of professionals working with parents with intellectual disabilities. A qualitative analysis of focus group discussions was undertaken. Study participants described their work with client families as fraught with difficulty. Their accounts differed depending on whether the child was living with the parents or the child had been placed in out-of-home care. In the first situation, parental limitations and inability to meet the needs of their children were emphasized, with parents failing to recognize their own high support needs. In the second situation, the parental role was seen as important, and it was considered vital to continue to provide proper support to enable the parents' ongoing contact with their child and maintaining their parenting. The difference could be explained by lack of appropriate support and knowledge provided through the organizations at which the study participants worked, along with job stress. The author notes that study participants doubted the capacity of the parents to care for their children and were uncertain about how to best support them. Gaps were revealed in the way in which knowledge about families with a parent with an intellectual disability is produced and used by professionals.