An exploration of the experiences of parents with an intellectual disability within a family support program
Morgan, Denise (Denise Ann) (2006). An exploration of the experiences of parents with an intellectual disability within a family support programMPhil Thesis, School of Social Work and Applied Human Sciences, University of Queensland.
(Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
This thesis explores the experiences of parents with an intellectual disability who participated in a family support program over a twelve month period. It also explores the impact of this program on their ability to effectively parent and protect their children. Parents with an intellectual disability are overly represented within child protection notifications and investigations. This group of parents experience heightened surveillance, as do other marginalised groups, and having a disability becomes a form of oppression in a hostile environment (Read, 2000). Others liken their lived experiences to a form of apartheid (Goggin and Newell, 2005) where the social construction of disability produces negative perceptions and therefore responses by social institutions and systems.
Limited attention has been paid to the needs and experiences of parents with an intellectual disability leaving them increasingly vulnerable in the community. Such parents are typically assumed to be 'bad' parents and children usually removed without accurate or appropriate assessment of risk and needs. Relatively few research programs have explored the issues for these parents and even fewer practice options have been available within the general field of family support. This study addresses this gap.
This qualitative study explored the experiences of five families where one or both parents had an intellectual disability and where there was increased risk of notification to and or involvement of child protection authorities. All the families participated in a family support program specifically designed for parents with an intellectual disability over a twelve month period. Using in depth interviews with the parents and the practitioners who provided the interventions this study revealed important findings for future practice with this group. The thesis also discusses the implications for policy, practice and future research.