NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ862833
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1354-4187
Convention of Hope--Communicating Positive, Realistic Messages to Families at the Time of a Child's Diagnosis with Disabilities
Harnett, Alison; Tierney, Edel; Guerin, Suzanne
British Journal of Learning Disabilities, v37 n4 p257-264 Dec 2009
As part of a larger study to develop best practice recommendations for informing families of their child's disabilities, this study researched the elements of best practice required when communicating this news to families. It traced the convergence between these practice recommendations and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; in particular with regard to the provision of positive, realistic and hopeful communication. The study employed a mixed methodology, involving 22 focus groups and a questionnaire survey of 1588 professionals and 584 families. The study found that a large majority of parents and professionals supported the recommendation of providing families with positive, realistic and hopeful messages at the time of diagnosis but less than half of the parents surveyed reported receiving communication of this type. The findings indicated that some professionals may struggle with fears of providing "false hope", a fear of litigation and a lack of training, when considering providing hope. However the research also identified positive and hopeful messages that are not in conflict with providing honest and realistic communication. These include: acknowledging the dignity and worth of the child as an individual, indicating that there is help available for parents, and informing families about the spectrum of possible outcomes for their child rather than the worst case scenario. The provision of appropriate positive, realistic messages and hope is fully aligned with the principles of the UN Convention.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A