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Mindfulness Training Effects for Parents and Educators of Children With Special Needs

Authors: Ben R., Akiva T., Arel S.& Roeser R.W. (2012)

Journal: Developmental psychology 48 (5)

Summary: This study represents the Mindfulness Training (MT) approach and its implications to parents and educators' work with special needs population. Research has shown that parents face difficulties meeting the needs of the SEN population that are exacerbated during adolescence. The stability of the family relationship is threatened, therefore the need of support becomes emergent. Similarly, research has suggested that the level of teachers' stress is increased trying to respond to each students' needs, engage the student and maintain good relationship with the family. Interventions to help both teachers and educators to fulfill their roles and maximize their educational skills are essential. Mindfulness Training interventions have proven to be helpful.

The hypothesis of the study was that MT would prove efficacious with regard to fostering positive changes in mindfulness, reductions in stress and distress, increases in well-being, and positive changes in relational and caregiving competence. 70 participants (32 parents and 38 educators) were recruited through the special education offices of a school in a Midwestern city.

Participants completed surveys at three time points: baseline (1week pre-MT), program completion (1 week post-MT), and follow-up (2 months post-MT).

The MT involves 36 hr of didactic and group discussion activities, mindfulness practices, and homework assignments delivered over nine 2.5-hr sessions and 2 full days. The mindfulness practices include specific mental training exercises, such as concentration on thoughts or the breath, and homework practices, such as assignments of daily sitting practices and monitoring emotional and behavioral responses. Parents and educators participated in MT sessions twice a week over a 5-week period.

The results from this study demonstrate that intensive MT conducted over a 5-week period significantly increased participants’ self-reported mindfulness in terms of their being (a) more aware and present to their surroundings, physical sensations, and internal mental processes; (b) less judgmental; and (c) more descriptive of their moment-to-moment experiences. In turn, parents' stress was reduced with program effects persisting and growing larger by the follow-up assessment 2 months later. (Reviewed by Katerina Chatziantoniou, specialeducation.gr Advisory Team member)

The article can be found here.

Please Don’t Hurt me- Winter 2009 Newsletter on Bullying & Harassment and people with Disabilities

Authors:

  • Various, Institute on Disability/UCED, University of New Hampshire.

People with disabilities are at significantly greater risk for abuse, neglect, and exploitation than people without disabilities. Abuse and bullying of people with disabilities can occur anywhere, at home, in the school, in the community. The reasons behind this alarming data vary and it is an issue that is taking great proportions as several victimization cases remain unreported and research is still evolving. In this Winter 2009 issue of the Rap Sheet of the Institute on Disability/UCED at the University of New Hampshire, you can find a simple, yet informing report on the multiple aspects of abuse and bullying of people with disabilities as they are documented and reported by people with disabilities who have been victims themselves, educators and academics who are involved in better understanding the nature of this topic (through implementation models around school discipline and students empowerment), and constituents from NGO’s that deal with the legal advocacy to prevent abuse and neglect.

The full text can be found here.

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