Training, Education and Support for Professionals

Best Practice Guidelines

In order to provide appropriate training, education and support for professionals who undertake the task of informing families of their child’s disability, the Guidelines recommend that:

6.1  Staff members are trained in good practice for informing families of their child’s disability.   

6.2 The training provided includes: 

  • communication skills training
  • disability awareness training
  • cultural awareness and diversity training
  • role playing/experiential training
  • listening skills
  • skills to guide staff members on appropriate responses to reactions the news may cause, including shock
  • reflective practice
  • counselling skills

6.3  As this can be a distressing area for professionals it is important to have two staff members present at the sharing of the news.

6.4  Appropriate support is given (identified locally) including debriefing and mentoring by senior staff members for those in training.

6.5 There is input and feedback from parents into training provision.

6.6 There are many disciplines across various settings who are involved in informing families of their child’s disability. Good linkage across these disciplines and settings is central to a positive experience for parents. Therefore, interdisciplinary collaborative skills training is provided to all members of staff who may be involved in communicating to families the news of a child’s disability, or supporting them thereafter.

6.7 An ethos of continuous quality improvement is promoted, with quality assurance and feedback mechanisms put in place to evaluate practice in how families are informed.

Click here to go to the next section of the Guidelines - Referral

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  • Informing Families Project, National Federation of Voluntary Bodies,  Oranmore Business Park,  Oranmore, Galway
  • Phone: +353 (091) 792316
  • Fax: +353 (091) 792317
  • Email:
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