HAO alongside LEAD project partners developed a training package, in order to provide the required support for parents and family members of young adults with disabilities, in order to help them integrate into the labour market. This training package is structured into three modules, as follows:
– Module 1: provides practical information designed to help parents support their children in accessing the services available for their integration into the labour market;
– Module 2: provides a theoretical understanding and skills to motivate young adults to get and keep a job;
– Module 3: offers specific strategies for individually addressing the needs / the desires of young adults with disabilities and developing their teamwork, decision-making and conflict resolution skills.
Regarding Romania, between May and July 2020, our colleagues from HAO sent the three training modules, via email, to 12 non-governmental organizations, as well as to the members of the National Network of Supported Employment Services Providersfrom Romania, established within the LEAD project. The training package was sent, via email but also as a physical copy, to 27 parents / relatives of young people with disabilities, who previously had completed the questionnaires to identify training needs, based on which the training package was developed. Everyone was asked to express their opinion on the material submitted.
Between June and July 2020, our collegues organised 12 individual training sessions with the parents / relatives of young adults with disabilities and a group training session attended by 3 parents / relatives, in order to comply with both the distance measures and the wishes specified by the participants.
The aims of these training sessions were to provide information about the training package to the participants, and to identify the applicability degree of the information delivered, in everyday life, for each parent / relative.
Concerning the feedback requested from parents, whether they participated in face-to-face training sessions or just received the training package, it was focused on three main aspects: the format of the training package content, the structure of the training package and the usefulness of the content.
Based on the feedback of the Romanian participants, we note the following aspects:
– 85 per cent of parents / relatives considered that the printed training package is much more accessible and easier to use than the electronic format.
– All parents appreciated the structure of the training package. If the first module was considered easy to understand by all participants, the other 2 modules were considered to be a little more difficult to use; 40 per cent of parents specified that they need to be guided by a facilitator.
– All parents / relatives considered that they need information, methods, and techniques to help them develop their parenting skills when working with young adults with disabilities. They considered that the information within the training package has a high degree of applicability; the language is accessible and the practical applications are easy to navigate.
During the face-to-face group training sessions, parents were invited and encouraged by our consultants to share their thoughts and feelings about their children’s future. In this way, our specialists created the opportunity to develop strong links between participants, which will help build the support group between parents. By sharing the things which are working and which are not working in their lives, parents realized how much they have in common with each other and began to share information, understandment and encourage each other.
Most parents are concerned about their children’s future and have expressed dissatisfaction with the number and types of support services that young adults with disabilities can benefit from. Most of the young adults are bored, have no friends and are not active in their community, because there are no opportunities for leisure, sports, social, or cultural events to participate in, especially in this year when most non-governmental organizations restricted their activity due to the pandemic.
Also, most parents feel unprepared to approach discussions about feelings of affection that young adults begin to have towards people of the opposite sex. In this respect, they need the guidance of a specialist.