Purpose: This study explored the feasibility, impact and parent experiences of ENVISAGE (ENabling VISions And Growing Expectations)-Families, a parent-researcher co-designed and co-led program for parents/caregivers raising children with early-onset neurodisabilities.
Methods: Parents/caregivers of a child with a neurodisability aged ≤6 years, recruited in Australia and Canada, participated in five weekly online workshops with other parents. Self-report measures were collected at baseline, immediately after, and 3 months post-ENVISAGE-Families; interviews were done following program completion. Quantitative data were analyzed with generalized estimating equations and qualitative data using interpretive description methodology.
Results: Sixty-five parents (86% mothers) were recruited and 60 (92%) completed the program. Strong evidence was found of effects on family empowerment and parent confidence (all p ≤ 0.05 after the program and maintained at 3-month follow-up). The ENVISAGE-Families program was relevant to parents' needs for: information, connection, support, wellbeing, and preparing for the future. Participants experienced opportunities to reflect on and/or validate their perspectives of disability and development, and how these perspectives related to themselves, their children and family, and their service providers.
Conclusions: ENVISAGE was feasible and acceptable for parent/caregivers. The program inspired parents to think, feel and do things differently with their child, family and the people who work with them. Implications for rehabilitation ENVISAGE (ENabling VISions And Growing Expectations)-Families is a co-designed, validated parent/researcher "early intervention and orientation" program for caregivers raising a child with neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDDs).ENVISAGE-Families empowered parents' strengths-based approaches to their child, family, disability, and parenting. ENVISAGE-Families increased caregivers' confidence in parenting children with NDD's and provided them tools to support connection, collaboration, and wellbeing. Raising children with NDD can have a profound impact on caregivers, who can benefit from strengths-based, future focused supports early in their parenting experience.