Monday, December 12, 2011

Research, training and resources concerning the 21 million U.S. families with disabilities

BERKELEY, CA -- December 6, 2011. Through the Looking Glass and its National Center for Parents with Disabilities was awarded a five-year 2.5 million dollar federal grant to conduct research, training and provide consultations and materials regarding families in which an infant, child, parent or grandparent has a disability. In the United States, it is estimated that 28.9% of families (20.9 million families) have at least one member with a disability: 3.9 % of families have at least one child with a disability and 6.1% of families with children have one or both parents with a disability.

This new national project titled “Families with Disabilities through the Life Cycle: Disability Culture Perspectives” is funded by the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation and Research, U.S. Department of Education. Over the next five years, project activities will focus on critical issues that impact families with disabilities across the lifespan: from those disabled and nondisabled parents who are at the initial stages of having an infant with a disability through children with disabilities growing up to parents and grandparents with disabilities. In keeping with Through the Looking Glass’ 30 years of groundbreaking research, training and clinical intervention work, project activities will address family members with diverse disabilities and draw from the experiences and perspectives of the Disability and Deaf communities. Among the innovative activities planned are:
Free consultations to parents, family members and professionals regarding families with disabilities across the lifespan.
Research regarding national statistics, discriminatory practices and appropriate resources for families with disabilities.
Training and resource materials for more than 2,000 Early Head Start programs and Independent Living Centers throughout the U.S. regarding parents with disabilities or deafness and their children.
Legal research and consultations for parents with disabilities involved in custody situations.
Scholarships for high school seniors and college students who have a parent with a disability
Training and tools for occupational therapists to support parents with disabilities
Expertise to inform federal and international policies regarding the rights of parents with disabilities.
Research regarding innovative techniques to help parents with intellectual disabilities be more responsive to their babies.
Online reviews of equipment and adaptations designed to help grandparents with disabilities care for their grandchildren.
Trainings to professionals from Japan regarding services to infants and families with disabilities.

The project will be staffed by TLG’s nationally recognized experts regarding families with disabilities, most of whom have personal or family experience with disability or deafness.