Home | News | Free support for parents of disabled extends to NSW

Free support for parents of disabled extends to NSW

Two years of free, evidence-based support is now available in New South Wales for parents of children with a disability.

Free seminars and one-on-one parenting sessions are available through the Stepping Stones Triple P Project, which aims to reduce childhood behavioural problems and improve the wellbeing of parents of children with special needs across the state.

Stepping Stones Triple P is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, and the program is offered for free in Victoria and Queensland under research partnerships with Monash University and the University of Queensland. Now the University of Sydney has joined a partnership, with professor Stewart Einfeld, USYD’s chair of mental health, spearheading the project in New South Wales.

Einfeld said parents of disabled children experience higher levels of stress and mental illness than other parents and often need extra support.

“It’s essentially important that we offer families targeted support, as children with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders, Fragile X and Down syndrome are much more prone to emotional and behavioural problems,” Einfeld said.

He also said a study in 2007 showed Stepping Stones can have benefits for families, as 71 per cent of children with a disability showed substantial improvements in their behaviour after their parents completed the program. Parents in Casino, Lismore and Tweed Heads, in NSW’s north, have been the first to experience the program, with a team of local health, community and education workers offering free support to parents. Stepping Stones is to be progressively rolled out across the state.

Parents of children with a disability can visit triplep-steppingstones.net to register their interest in the program.

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