Working with Families with Children/Parents with Developmental Disabilities

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been reviewed by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

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About This Program

Target Population: Child welfare case workers, case aides, life skills workers and professionals from collateral agencies. Foster parents may attend.

Brief Description

This training is part of a more comprehensive professional training program that focuses on the intersection of intellectual disabilities and child protection issues. This two-day training (13 hours) is an overview of families with a member with an intellectual disability (ID) and is designed to familiarize professionals with the family’s strengths and needs. It focuses on the use of language, criteria to receive services for ID, common diagnostic categories and causes, multidisciplinary evaluations, risk for abuse for verbal and nonverbal children/adolescents, executive functioning, cultural factors, impact on families, resources, and parents with ID. There are two television-quality DVDs that are shown, When Parents Can’t Fix It and A Fair Chance.

Program Goals:

The goals of Working with Families with Children/Parents with Developmental Disabilities are:

  • Identify the basic criteria that must be met for a handicapping condition to be classified as a developmental disability
  • Describe the primary developmental disabilities, including Impairment in General Intellectual Functioning, epilepsy, autism, cerebral palsy, and other neurological disorders (spina bifida, brain damage, and muscular dystrophy), Down syndrome, Fragile X, and other handicapping conditions not solely physical in nature
  • Recognize that developmental disabilities can contribute to the cause of abusive or neglectful care, effect the presentation of abuse, or can be the result of abusive behavior
  • Describe the strengths and needs of families with a child and/or parent with a developmental disability and the importance of linking families with adequate formal and informal social supports
  • Recognize the strengths and issues of culture and social class in assessing possible developmental disabilities and suspected abuse and neglect, as well as the family's willingness to seek and accept help from the system
  • Identify early signs and symptoms of developmental disabilities and implement assessment and treatment strategies, including those aimed at the prevention of abusive and neglectful care
  • Collaborate and refer children for comprehensive evaluations; including medical, educational, social, psychological, and recreational services, when appropriate
  • Be aware of the negative attitudes and misconceptions regarding persons with developmental disabilities, including those who are parents, which may lead to a devaluing of families, minimization of the effects of abuse, and, ultimately, an impact on delivery of services

Contact Information

Virginia Cruz, MSW, DSW
Agency/Affiliation: The Social Work Department at Metropolitan State University of Denver
Phone: (303) 556-5362

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: February 2014

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: March 2014