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Launch of HSE-funded report on 'Marte Meo'

Launch of HSE-funded report on 'Marte Meo'

Launch of HSE-funded report on a programme for parents with communication and developmental difficulties
- a DCU study of parents' and professionals' experiences of the Marte Meo therapy programme

Therapies and services for families, experiencing developmental and communication difficulties, need to be appropriately resourced, according to a report launched today.

The report was carried out by Dr Jean Clarke, Dr Mel Duffy and Yvonne Corcoran from Dublin City University's School of Nursing.  Ms Colette O'Donovan, Marte Meo programme, HSE, was professional consultant to the research team.

Marte Meo is a video-based programme that provides concrete and practical information to parents and carers on supporting the social, emotional and communication development of children, adolescents and adults.  It offers support and advice for parents of children who are experiencing developmental delay, behavioural difficulties, have a diagnosis of autism, aspergers, ADHD or because of other social or family problems.

The research studied the experiences of families who participated in the Marte Meo programme, and therapists who provided the programme.  It concluded that parents who used the Marte Meo communication therapy method developed greater confidence in their parenting skills and rediscovered their ability to parent their child beyond her/his diagnosis or behaviour problem.

The report also recommends that Information on the therapeutic treatment provided by Marte Meo therapists should be more widely available, and that Marte Meo communication skills training needs to be included as part of the programme of training for all health care professionals.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Jean Clarke said, "The Marte Meo programme was developed to enhance communications skills between parent/care providers and childred, with an emphasis on prevention, early intervention and treatment.  Approximately 180 families participate in the Marte Meo programme in any given year.  There are 118 trained Marte Meo therapists in the country and 700 health care professionals have completed the Marte Meo communication skills training. The method has proved particularly useful for parents, including foster- and adoptive parents, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to support the emotional, intellectual and social development of their children.  It is effective in facilitating attachment between children and their parents, while at the same time equipping parents to be more confident in their parenting skills.”

In his address at the launch Aidan Waterstone, Childcare and Family Specialist, HSE said “the launch of this Report into the experiences of families and therapists who participated in the Marte Meo programme is both timely and important. Children and Family Services in the HSE are involved in a process of change and development with a renewed emphasis on supporting children and families. This research has demonstrated the value and importance of the Marte Meo programme as a model of best practice.”

The Marte Meo Training Centre, which is funded by the HSE, provides training for health professionals from different disciplines within the HSE and external organisations.  The training is particularly useful for community child care workers, social workers, public health nurses, nurses in intellectual disability, playschool leaders, speech and language therapists, residential child care providers, behaviour specialists and also for staff caring for older persons.