The PAMS assessment (Parent Assessment Manual developed by Dr Sue McGaw, a nationally renowned Clinical Psychologist in the field of working with parents with learning disabilities) covers: child care and development, behaviour management, independent living skills, safety and hygiene, parents’ health, relationships and support, and the impact of the environment and community on parenting. Each parenting skill area within a domain is assessed for ‘parental knowledge’, ‘quality of parenting skills’ and the frequency of parenting practice. By breaking elements of parenting down into testable components PAMS starts to make an assessment of quality that is evidence-based. After completion, the assessor has a clear visual family profile of functioning that target parenting support needs, as well as child protection issues.
Staff members have been trained by Dr Sue McGaw, and we now provide PAMS assessments from both Centres.
Where a parent has been noted to have a learning difficulty/disability our approach also incorporates the work of Dr Sue McGaw, and we use techniques such as:
- Breaking down tasks into easily identifiable steps
- Demonstrating tasks
- Use of prompt cards/pictorial prompts, symbols, diagrams, digital clocks
- Use of visual aids/video
- Addressing issues on a gradual basis, tackling a few issues at any one time to avoid the parent feeling overwhelmed and inadequate
- Repetition of instruction/input
- Role play of risk, stimulation, care focussed scenarios e.g. telephone liaison with the DSS, discussing the child’s health/symptoms with a GP
- Increased frequency of verbal feedback
- Visualisation of issues e.g. visual use of materials e.g. ‘traffic lights’ (green, amber, red) to reflect issues
About 30% of the families we work with one or both parents experience a learning difficulty. We have many years of experience in this area of work and we have a good reputation for offering a quality service to these individuals.