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Children affected by bullying and other social issues highlight need greater parent support

author:Canterbury University

Children affected by bullying and other social issues highlight need for greater parent support

This news release from Canterbury University there is a greater need for parent support in New Zealand to deal with bullying, child abuse and the other social issues such as drugs and alcohol education expert says.

Bullying, child abuse and the other social issues such as drugs and alcohol, highlight the need for parent education and greater support for parents in bringing up their children in New Zealand, a University of Canterbury (UC) education expert says.

Professor Garry Hornby, who has researched and written books on the issues, suggests that although there is a range of groups, organisations and institutions that are available to provide guidance and support for parents, there is one type of help that parents typically find very useful.

“Support groups for parents are important. They have grown in number and scope in the past few years including support groups for parents of young people with various special needs, disabilities, health and mental health issues.

“One such group is Parent to Parent, which has gone from strength to strength in the past 30 years and is about to hold a reunion in Auckland for parents and professionals involved in setting it up 30 years ago.’’

Parent to Parent began in March 1983 with a meeting of representatives from various disability groups in the Auckland area, who were parents of children with intellectual and physical disabilities, hearing and visual impairment.

Twelve parents agreed to become involved in establishing a Parent to Parent service and took part in the first support parent training course, which was led by educational psychologists Professor Hornby and Ray Murray.

Following its establishment, the Parent to Parent service spread throughout New Zealand, with 11 regional groups now providing support to parents of children with disabilities and health impairments throughout the North and the South Islands.

Parent to Parent initially began as a telephone support service, which linked parents who called the helpline with support parents who had children with similar disabilities.

It has since broadened its scope to include an informative website, video conferencing to enable face to face contacts between parents, regular newsletters from the national office, regional workshops for siblings and other family members, and an annual conference.

In addition to providing training for hundreds of volunteer support parents, Parent to Parent now also provides information and assistance to professionals working in the field of disability in New Zealand.

“The website is a source of information about different types of disability and about other services for children with disabilities and their parents. In addition, Parent to Parent administrators and trained support parents provide input into the training of special education teachers and at conferences focusing on disability, inclusive education or special education,’’ Professor Hornby says.

The Parent to Parent re-union will take place at the Waipuna Hotel in Mt Wellington on November 23.

Professor Hornby teaches and researches in the area of parent education, support and involvement in children’s education at UC’s College of Education. His latest book, published by Springer in New York, titled, Parental Involvement in Childhood Education, will be useful to teachers and other professionals who work with parents.


Canterbury University   

November 12, 2013 2012