Report shows importance of grandparents and extended family in supporting parents with learning disabilities

Suggestions for future research include developing effective and cost effective models of person centred care, supported living and developing approaches to support family members and carers.

Researchers at Norah Fry have been looking at issues relating to supporting parents with learning disabilities for many years, recently producing an extremely helpful report (Finding the right support? A review of issues and positive practice in supporting parents with learning difficulties and their children ).

In this report, they focus on the role of grandparents and the extended family in the support network. The author outlines some of the key issues and develops some strategies for the involvement of the extended family, drawing on contributions from parents with learning disabilities from CHANGE (a national organisation running a network of and for parents with learning disabilities) and from a range of organisations providing support to family carers and members of the extended family, especially grandparents.

On the basis of the findings, it is suggested that grandparents and other members of the extended family can and do make a huge difference to parents with learning difficulties and their children, providing a role model, support, information, advice and childcare.

Download the full report as a pdf here Supporting parents with learning disabilities: Grandparents and the extended family

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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