Person-Centered Planning Can Help People with Intellectual Disabilities Improve Their Parenting Skills

Developing family support groups for parents with intellectual disabilities

From late December 2000 to late December 2002, researchers from the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities conducted a study to determine whether parents with intellectual disabilities who are at risk of losing their children to foster care can benefit from person-centered planning.

This is a technique that uses a small group of committed friends, family and service providers to provide ongoing training and support.

The project comprised the delivery of person-centered planning services to a pilot group of families; the development of instruments to measure parents' needs; and the impact of person-centered planning on parenting skills, family cohesion and child outcomes.

The Institute is a member of the nonprofit Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene.

Key Findings

  • Parents in the treatment group reported decreased stress.

  • Families in the treatment group saw a decrease in child behavior problems due to the child's anxiety and depression.

  • Parents in the treatment group reported an increase in the resources available to them and in the diversity of individuals in their social needs.