A case study on mindfulness training effects for parents and educators of children with special needs
In caregiving for children with special needs, parents and teachers face unique social and emotional problems as they perform their duties. These challenges lead to stress that affects not only their parenting and teaching quality but also their health and wellbeing. Mindful training (MT) for the parents and the educators has not been researched upon to assess its capacity to relieve this stress to improve their welfare and promote their caregiving. A mind training program was carried out for five weeks for parents and educators to assess it a capacity to reduce stress, improve well-being and ultimately lead to better outcomes in caregiving for the special need. The mindful training was adequate since educators and parents in the MT program, exhibited increased levels of mindfulness, reduced amount of stress and anxiety among other signs and these were in contrast to those participants in the control section (Rita, Tom, & Sari, 2012). MT is effective in influencing the wellbeing positively, caregiving outcome and well-being for parents and children with developmental challenges.
Children with various developmental challenges need multifaceted intervention from various healthcare providers to parents. In their caregiving, a lot of patience is required that arises from being mindfulness. Parents and educators are among the important therapist that the special needs children require, but they are exposed to stress that hinder their performance in their caregiving and stress that affects their social and emotion status. In the USA children under 18 years have been associated with physical, emotional or behavior disability as they grow. Parents and educators for these children are the critical elements for their wellbeing, but they also experience negative impacts in their line of duty such as stress that affect their emotional and social life. MT training was a program experimented in the institution of social research at the University of Michigan. There were cases and controls; cases showed Improvement after the program with reduced levels of stress and improved quality of their caregiving as well as their quality of life. On the other hand, the control either remained the same or exhibited worse results on the same scale as the cases (Rita et al. 2012).
Seventy participants that included 38 and 32 parents and educators respectively from a small Midwestern City. Most of the educators were part of the team that participated in a five-week special education summer extension program. Parents in the program had their children with various disabilities enrolled too. A $25 stipend was given to participants upon completion of each three-time point. Parents and educators were assigned numbers randomly by a computerized program to receive the MT over the summer session or later in fall for the control group. After randomization, 60 participants remained for the study. Five facets mindful questionnaire was used, and a scale with 39 items used to measure the mindfulness. Perceived stress scale was used to measure the amount of participant’s stress. Anxiety was measured by the State–Trait Anxiety Inventory. Depression, self- compassion, self- growth, forgiveness, empathic concern, teaching self- efficacy, emotional self-regulatory, parenting self-efficacy, and quality of child and parent interaction were also measure on various scales (Rita et al. 2012).
After randomization, there was no significant difference in the baseline standards between the treatment and the controls and 14% of the decline participation. After the intervention was initiated on participant dropout from the treatment group. 52 participants completed pre and post intervention treatment but those who did not complete post intervention treatment showed relatively high depression levels. At follow-up, only 20 parents and 23 educators had remained. Those who did complement all the assessments shows relatively low levels of mindfulness. All participants completed the MT program except one parent, with all attending most of the evaluations. Participants indicated high levels of satisfaction from the program instructional model. The treatment program showed an improved quality of caregiving, on group assessment parents still reported higher levels of stress and anxiety than educators except on self-compassion (Rita et al. 2012).
The results above have shown that a 5 week MT program contributed to increased mindfulness and improved their awareness to the environment, emotionally, and mentally to their surroundings. They became less judgmental and improved on how they described their time to time experiences. The two core competencies were improved with more times spend along the MT program. The hypothesis that mindfulness would give an explanation for the changes with follow-up session was confirmed. The participant after the MT program showed great control over their emotions on various environments, and could easily recover from stressful episodes. The individual were most like to exercise self-compassion, forgiveness towards themselves and others. But the programs did not have a great impact on convincing parents that they could improve their caregiving skills hence high levels of stress and anxiety. This shows that the program did not allow adequate time for parents to integrate their emotions to the MT programs and be regulated by the treatment offered. Hence, more time was required for a significant change on parents to occur. Despite all the differences between parents and educators, both groups showed an improvement in stress, anxiety, self- compassion and self-forgiveness levels. The decline in some participants after randomization reduced the desired sample size. The MT program confirmed that it can be used to reduce stress, anxiety and improve their wellbeing equally to their quality of care for parents and educators for children with special needs (Rita et al. 2012).
Rita, B., Tom, A., & Sari, A. Mindfulness training effects for parents and educators of childrenwith special needs. Vol 48(5), Sep, 2012. pp. 1476-1487