Treating Families of Children with Developmental Disabilities
November 12 @ 9:00 am - 12:15 pm
PRESENTER: Jeff Jackson, Ph.D
Nearly 10 million U.S. children (15% of children ages 3-17) have some type of developmental disability. Bringing a child with developmental disabilities into the world has life-changing implications and lasting effects not only for the child, but also for his or her family. This workshop will prepare participants to better serve families of children with severe developmental disabilities by understanding common stressors these families tend to face and using ambiguous loss as a treatment framework. The content of this workshop is based on research Dr. Jackson has conducted with parents of children with developmental disabilities.
This workshop will address common situations of ambivalence parents of children with developmental disabilities face, including uncertainties about the nature and diagnosis of the disability, utilizing support services, and out-of-home placement. These types of ambivalence frequently lead to family members of children with developmental disabilities experiencing ambiguous loss through raising a child who is psychologically absent but physically present as well as through placement (the child is physically absent but psychologically present in the minds of the family members). Boss'(2006) objectives for clinicians working with families struggling with ambiguous loss (i.e., finding meaning, tempering mastery, reconstructing identity, normalizing ambivalence, revising attachment, and discovering hope) are applied to assisting families of children with developmental disabilities. A model for describing the process of parental adaptation after voluntarily placing a child with severe or profound developmental disabilities in out-of-home care will also be presented.