Quality of Life
In order to improve the quality of a family's life, it is important not only to seek and take account of the views of parents but to work closely with them and empower them to make changes, where necessary, to the systems that they and their child are subject to.
It is important for schools to develop shared expectations with families (Russell 2003).
According to Bronfenbrenner (1979) a model of empowerment has three characteristics.
Enhancing the quality of a family's life can be seen within Bronfenbrenner's model. Here the focus of empowerment is the impact that the family can make on their environment by transforming services, local communities and societies so that their quality of life can be improved.
Improving the system and transforming services, local communities and society will naturally have a positive impact on families.
Here Harvey's dad, Simon explains what he thinks is wrong with the system.
Consider how schools help improve:
For each level, consider the following for your own environment:
- What can your school do to improve the range and quality of services provided to families?
- What part does your school play in the local community and how does this positively impact families?
- How can your school help change society?
You may feel slightly overwhelmed by having to address such a broad agenda. However, dealing with that broad agenda can also empower teachers and schools who can see the impact of the community on the lives of their children. The complexity and interconnectedness of the Quality of Life for these children and their families needs to be recognised by everyone in Education and Children Services.
Russell, F. (2003) The expectations of parents of disabled children, British
Journal of Special Education 30.3. 144-149.
Turnbull, A., Turnbull, R. (2002) 'From the Old to The New Paradigm of Disability and Families: Research to Enhance Family Quality of Life Outcomes', In J. Paul, C. Lavely, A. Cranston-Gingras, and E.Taylor (eds) Rethinking Professional Issues in Special Education, Ablex Publishing: London.