Parenting children with developmental intellectual disabilities is complicated and requires constant attention and appropriate tools. For many social workers, interacting with parents is one of the most important and significant challenges of their jobs. They require professional tools to help parents of children and adults with disabilities of different functioning levels. The social worker accompanies the family from the moment the child is diagnosed as having special needs and continues to work with them for years to come.
Attitudes, emotions and relationships between the parents and other children in the family influence their ability to cope with parenting a disabled child. Social workers need to be acutely aware of the crises families endure in order to help them cope with their hardship. The first few years of the child’s life are critical in the family’s coping process and the acceptance of their disabled child. The social worker’s support in this stage is crucial and the development of the required therapeutic and professional skills is essential for the social worker in this aspect of his or her work.
In 2014 we conducted a course in Jerusalem entitled, “Intervention in families with a young child with cognitive and developmental disabilities.”This course gave a variety of professionals in the field an opportunity for joint learning and reinforcement of skills and techniques".
The participants of the course included social workers from rehabilitation centers, child development centers, hospitals, and rehabilitative day care centers. The informative gathering created strong work relations and resulted in shortened procedures for optimal care of the children and their families.
The Shalem Foundation initiated the development of the course materials and funded its operation. At the request of several participants,the Shalem Foundation agreed to conduct a practicum and follow up instruction, which will take place during the coming academic year.
A letter from two of the participants:
In light of the upcoming practicum which is a direct continuation of last year’s successful course, we wanted to thank you and to show our appreciation for your implementation of the feedback and requests of all the course’s participants.
It is important for us to note that we are aware that it isn’t obvious to come up with a course which integrates so many professional authorities together with such a variety of meaningful content (that are all necessary for those who work with our communities), especially conducting both the course and the follow up practicum at our request.
It’s no doubt that this is an upgrade that adds to our professionalism and quality of work and in aspiring always to improve and move forward. We thank you for the invitation and the opportunity.
Shani Shtrik- Social worker Shalve center,