School Psychology Review
Developmental Disabilities: The Family and the School
Sandra L. Harris, Pattey L. Fong
Mini-Series on Developmental Disabilities
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ABSTRACT: The school psychologist can most effectively create enduring change for the developmentally disabled child if he or she carefully assesses the child’s family context. This article briefly reviews current literature on the experiences of mothers, fathers, and siblings of developmentally disabled children with an aim to sensitizing the school psychologist to how these factors may impact upon the disabled child’s experiences. It is suggested that parent training in behavioral techniques will be valuable to the extent that parents have the physical and emotional resources to follow through on these programs. Some families may require counseling or therapy to enable them to integrate effectively the handicapped child into their lives. The school psychologist is in an especially good position to assess on-going family needs,bridge the gap during transitions from one resource to another, and make appropriate referrals when members of the family require additional resources.