Queensland parents of children with a disability are the first in the world to benefit from a parenting intervention designed to reduce child behaviour problems across the state.
So far, 350 Queensland parents have received parenting skills training through The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Stepping Stones Triple P Project (SSTP), with thousands more expected to seek help over the next 12 months.
A high-level team headed by Triple P-Positive Parenting Program founder and UQ Parenting and Family Support Centre director Professor Matt Sanders is managing the project, which targets parents of children with special needs aged 2 to 12.
Professor Sanders said early intervention was the key to reducing and preventing the onset of serious emotional and behaviour problems in children with a disability.
“Children with disabilities have three to four times more behavioural problems than typically developing children, which means their parents have a lot of extra issues to deal with on top of managing their child’s disability,” he said.
“This project enables us to use Triple P’s knowledge of effective parenting strategies to help parents when their children are young to prevent certain behaviour becoming entrenched and increasingly difficult to deal with as children get older.”
The SSTP Project provides parents with evidence-based group and individual support through a specialised Triple P program called Stepping Stones.
A 2007 study found 71% of children with a developmental disability showed a 30 percent reduction in difficult behaviour after their parents did Stepping Stones.
For the next 12 months, parents can go to www.triplep-steppingstones.net to check which parenting sessions are currently available in their area.
More sessions will be added by trained Stepping Stones practitioners throughout the year, and parents are encouraged to check the site regularly for local opportunities.
Online and self-help support with follow-up phone consultations is available if access is a problem due to geographical isolation or other factors.
(Source: The University of Queensland)