Parents/caregivers of children ages 3-18 with special needs (mental health, intellectual, or physical). Parents are the singular approach in the PRAXES program as they are the ones who suffer significantly more symptoms and issues of parental stress with special needs children (i.e., mental health disorders and/or intellectual disabilities) than parents of typical children. Prior to learning parenting skills, they need to comprehend the impact of their child’s behavior on their own life and learn to manage their specific behavior.
PRAXES is a parent empowerment practice, a psychoeducational model of skills designed to help parents or caregivers experiencing moderate to severe stress in their everyday life as a result of having children with either mental health, intellectual, or physical needs.
- Develop a growing set of talents to increase parent competency.
- Build personalized skills to reduce stress.
- Improve understanding of their child’s needs.
- Enhance parenting abilities.
Essential Concepts and Components:
The predominant concept is PRAXES is expectations: as parents change the expectations of themselves as parents and of their child’s abilities, their stress levels decrease and the parent-child bond strengthens.
- Parent Self-Care- how the parent views themselves and their wellbeing needs
- Parent Awareness – how the parent views their child’s unique needs and advocating for them
- Parent Ability – how the parent views their child’s behavior and developing strategies
- Stress reduction
- Grief and Loss
- Assertive Communication
- Support Systems
- Child Development
- Mental Health Education
- Parent Advocacy
- Promoting Positive Behavior
- Clear Expectations
- Solving Problems
Practitioner strategies in PRAXES focus on:
- Praising the parent’s existing skills and developing a range of enhanced approaches to improve their functioning and that of their child.
- Utilizing structured decision-making approaches to parenting and self-behavior problems to nurture the parent’s independence as their own behavior specialist.
- Developing the parent’s communication skills to increase their assertiveness in their environment, with their child’s school and other systems, and the community.
- Understanding their loss of the child’s status as “typical” and to perceive their child’s challenges from a reality-based lens.
- Decreasing the isolative behavior of parents and encouraging their development of formal and informal networks of community to support them with their child.
- PRAXES services are sensitive to the culturally diverse needs of the parents served.
The PRAXES sessions:
- Are provided by practitioners who have been trained in the model and receive supervision, either from their agency or from the PRAXES central office.
- Meet for approximately one hour once a week for twelve weeks.
- Provide a program designed for parents of children ages 3-18 with either mental health disorders and/or intellectual disabilities.
- Are delivered through a combination of teaching styles, including: discussion of subjects pertaining to the core components, questionnaires, writing and discussion exercises, role playing exercises between the practitioner and the parent, and practice assignments to be conducted in between sessions.
- Also include the practitioner contacting the parent by phone between sessions to engage them further about the topic of the past week, how the parent has been practicing the skills learned from that session and any questions or concerns raised by the parent about the subject material.
- Encourage parents to view selves based upon their strengths, their existing talents in managing their child.
- Utilize individualized exercises to accommodate each parent’s needs.
- Group delivery with 8 – 12 parents
- May be offered in a variety of settings (e.g., home, clinic, school, medical groups, churches, etc.)