Supporting Learning Style For Parents With Intellectual Disability

Posted: October 7, 2019

National Child Protection Week 2019 celebrated the theme that children thrive when their parents are supported. In helping to celebrate this theme, Interaction Disability Services shares some of the many types of support and training that can help a family where one or both parents have intellectual disability.

Teaching parenting skills to parents with intellectual disability is best done in situ, such as in the family home, where they can learn the skills in the same situations where they will be used each day (Llewellyn et al. 2003). Often when parents with intellectual disability attend group training, they find the content difficult to follow and struggle to transfer their new skills into the family home.

Each person has their own learning style, so adapting to the way parents with intellectual disability learn is fundamental to supporting their successes in learning new parenting skills. For example, teaching parents how to sterilise baby bottles can be done in many different ways, including the use of pictorials, role plays, making videos, modelling steps, and breaking instructions down into  concrete and simple guidelines.

Interaction Disability Services support parents by using a home-based learning kit called Healthy Start. This was developed by the Parenting Research Centre and is tailored to training parenting skills to parents with intellectual disability. It helps to equip parents with the knowledge and skills required to manage common home dangers such as accidents and childhood illnesses. The training helps parents to recognise when their child is sick, when to contact a doctor, how to use medicine safely, how to identify dangerous objects around the home as well as cooking dangers and precautions.

Using the Healthy Start Program, parents are able to learn new skills in their own homes, and through their own learning styles. According to the Healthy Start Program, ‘parents with learning difficulties tend to have fewer social supports, so the service system can be critical in helping families to function.’

For any further information on supporting parents with intellectual disability contact Interaction Services on 1300 668 123 or

This article has also been published on Kiddipedia.