The importance of a partnership between professionals and the parents of children with special needs is now well established in legislation and professional circles. However there has been an acknowledged failure to translate this into widespread practice. From her own experience Naomi Dale recognises that there will always be areas of conflict between professionals and family members and provides a conceptual framework that incorporates dissent as well as cooperation to give a more realistic basis for practice. Working with Families of Children with Special Needs uses case studies to elaborate on important issues in family work such as: delivering diagnosis; negotiating partnerships and handling disagreements; sharing control of record keeping; and interprofessional communication. Various theories are described to help the reader reach a greater understanding of these issues including the stress/coping model. Her detailed account also gives a wide systems analysis of the British situation highlighting the impact of recent legislation and changes in the structure and process of the professional's team and organisation.
The book successfully makes a link between theory, research and practice to provide a wealth of useful ideas and methods for engaging in partnerships with parents and family members. The exercises at the end of each chapter will prove especially useful for multidisciplinary professionals and those in training.
Naomi Dale was Director of the KIDS Family Centre, Camden, London. She is currently a consultant clinical psychologist in the Neurodisability Service (the Wolfson Centre) of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. An expert in family work, she is also involved in professional training and research into partnership support services.