Date Published: 30 May 2006

World-first disabilities program calls for families to participate in a landmark research project

Health News from Australia.

Researchers from the University of Queensland's School of Psychology (Australia) are seeking families with children between the ages of two and nine who have been diagnosed with autism (autism news), cerebral palsy or Downs syndrome to take part in ground-breaking research.

" It is widely recognised that children with disabilities are at greater risk of developing significant behavioural and emotional problems," Professor Matt Sanders said.

Professor Sanders is co-author of Stepping Stones Triple P and Director of The University of Queensland Parent and Family Support Centre.

Stepping Stones Triple P is the first evidence-based program of its kind in the world. It is designed to strengthen families' capacity to support a child with a disability and help contribute to a balanced, meaningful and fulfilling life at home and in the community.

The program is an adaptation of the Centre's highly successful Triple P ? Positive Parenting Program, a multi-level family intervention program for the prevention and treatment of behavioural and emotional problems in preadolescent children.

" Stepping Stones Triple P aims to assist parents of children with a disability develop practical solutions for common and potentially stressful behavioural and developmental challenges," Professor Sanders said.

Results of initial trials indicated a significant reduction in challenging behaviours, parental stress, depression and anxiety as well as increased parental confidence and competence and marital satisfaction.

Michelle Connolly, mother of a six-year-old autistic child, was involved in the pilot study.

" I just hope all the families who have a child with a disability have the opportunity to do Stepping Stones Triple P," she said.
" Our family is living proof that it can make a huge difference to their lives."

Source(s): University of Queensland, Australia

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