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PAMS Assessments

In a significant number of the families we work with one or both parents experiences a learning difficulty. We have many years of experience in this area of work and we have a good reputation for offering a quality service to these individuals.

The PAMS Assessment (Parent Assessment Training Manual) was developed by Dr Sue McGaw, a nationally renowned Clinical Psychologist in the field of working with parents with learning disabilities.  It covers:

  • child care and development,
  • behaviour management,
  • independent living skills,
  • safety and hygiene,
  • parents’ health,
  • relationships and support, and
  • the impact of the environment and community on parenting.

Each parenting skill area within a domain is assessed for ‘parental knowledge’, ‘quality of parenting skills’ and the frequency of parenting practice. By breaking elements of parenting down into testable components PAMS starts to make an assessment of quality that is evidence-based. After completion, the assessor has a clear visual family profile of functioning that targets parenting support needs, as well as child protection issues.

Our team members have been trained directly by Dr Sue McGaw, and we now provide PAMS assessments at both Centres.

Where a parent has been noted to have a learning difficulty/disability our approach also incorporates other techniques endorsed by Dr Sue McGaw, such as:

  • Breaking down tasks into easily identifiable steps
  • Demonstrating tasks
  • Use of prompt cards/pictorial prompts, symbols, diagrams, digital clocks
  • Use of visual aids/video
  • Addressing issues on a gradual basis, tackling a few issues at any one time to avoid the parent feeling overwhelmed and inadequate
  • Repetition of instruction/input
  • Role play – for example in relation to risk situations and care focused scenarios (e.g. telephone liaison with the Benefits Agency; discussing the child’s health/symptoms with a General Practitioner or Health Visitor). 
  • Increased frequency of verbal feedback
  • Visualisation of issues/use of  visual materials (e.g. green, amber, red ‘traffic lights’) to explore concerns and areas of progress.