Disabled Parents: Examining Research Assumptions

By Richard Olsen and Michele Wates.
Research in Practice 
ISBN 0954256247

This pamphlet is essential reading for those working in services
supporting families with children. A cogent and concise review of
research and policy literature, it aims to help agencies work
effectively and flexibly together to provide holistic support for
disabled parents and their children. 

The review challenges traditional research, asserting that
agencies have based policy and practice on inaccurate assumptions
about the lives of disabled parents. This led to a focus on
individual rather than social, environmental and economic
challenges facing disabled parents and their omission from service
design and evaluation. 

Olsen and Wates advocate raising the status of participatory
research where disabled parents themselves set the research agenda
and bring their findings to policy makers. Perhaps, then, what
makes disabled adults successful parents will underpin future

They also bring the “young carer” debate up to date, indicating
ways forward that maintain the rights of both parents and

The review concludes with a comprehensive checklist for good
practice and an index of references accessibly grouped under

Christine Wilson is a disabled parent and a disability
equality consultant.

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