Sunday, June 10, 2012

Team Approach to Services for Parents with Intellectual Disabilities

Sinergia’s “We Are Parents Too” and “Healthy Families” programs use a trans-disciplinary team approach to enhance the service spectrum for parents that are intellectually disabled. This approach capitalizes on the myriad of talents and skills of specific staff members from our organization. It results in powerful teamwork that provides creative solutions to very challenging circumstances that families can find themselves in. Staff expertise is also utilized in the training and education component of both programs. For example, recently the Nursing Department offered a workshop on Personal Hygiene. During this presentation the Nurse offered strategies on how parents can enhance their personal appearance as well as use and teach good hygiene to their children at home. The presentation was interactive and the participants were able to take part in the dialogue and share their own views about personal hygiene. The parents were very complimentary of the presentation. The follow-up survey results indicated that the participants learned new ways to approach this subject.

Another example is the collaboration with the Dental Hygiene Program at Hostos Community College of the City University. This presentation, given by the senior students under the supervision of a faculty member, dealt with the issues of good dental care and proper tooth brushing techniques. The session encouraged routine visits to the dentist by their children and the importance of general cleaning. The parents can now visit the Hostos Community College Clinic and receive free services at the dental clinic for themselves and their children.

The Mount Sinai Hospital School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, is now one of our collaborating partners. They have provided a workshop entitled, “Eating Disorders: Anorexia and Bulimia” and will present another workshop in July. They will also provide us with interns from their graduate program that will conduct focus groups and needs assessments.

One unique service that Sinergia provides is supervised visits requested by the courts and/or ACS. They are held onsite at our facility and directed by an instructor that teaches about the parent-to-child interaction between parents and their babies and/or young children. This is an important step in the bonding and connection of parents and children which is significant to the reunification goal of families who have been separated by the child custody system.

Our programs evolve. They are a work in progress and require the contribution of every member of the team.

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