Book review: Parental Learning Disability and Children’s Needs by Hedy Cleaver and Don Nicholson

    Parental Learning Disability and Children’s Needs – Family Experiences and Effective Practice

    ★★★★

    Hedy Cleaver and Don Nicholson

    Jessica Kingsley Publishers

    ISBN 9781843106326

    The aim of this book is to indicate through research the difference in outcomes within the assessment framework for children with parents with learning disabilities versus those of children with parents without learning disabilities. A further aim was to evaluate the level of participation of parents with learning disabilities in the assessment process detailed in the assessment framework for children in need.

    The research raises several interesting issues including the fact that there is a lack of involvement of adult services to support a parent during an assessment except where adult services are the initial referrer. The point is made that this fails to effectively use specialist skills when working with parents with a learning disability and potentially the loss of a professional advocate for the family. Parents were forced to rely on other family members for support in quite emotional circumstances especially where there were child protection concerns. This is an important point, as when the research was followed up three years later it was found that children of parents with a learning disability were more likely than their peers to be accommodated by the local authority.

    Overall this is a well laid out and accessible book that would be of interest to children and families and adult services workers as it emphasises the need for multi-agency working.

    Iain McDonald is a temporary social worker for Edinburgh Council

    published in 16 July 2009 edition of Community Care

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