Parents with a disability are often viewed through a "pathologizing lens" (Kirshbaum & Olkin, 2002, p. 77), in both research and practice. All too often one's disability is viewed more prominently than one's strengths and resilience. For example, an Australian study found "significant over-representation of parents with psychiatric disability and of parents with intellectual disability in the NSW Children’s Court" (Llewellyn, David McConnell, & Ferronato, 2003, p. 248). Johnson, Hanagan and Mirfin-Veitch (2007) describe some of the difficulties that parents with an intellectual disability have faced in the New Zealand Court System. Rather than viewing disabled parents through a "pathologizing lens" this study seeks to explore the perspectives of families headed by disabled parents, focussing in particular on the strengths, abilities and resilience that lead to positive outcomes.
Using both overseas and New Zealand based studies as a foundation, this study seeks to explore the success and resilience of disabled parents. This project will have three phases, - a literature review, qualitative interviewing and data analysis, and dissemination of findings including final reports and presentations to local organisations.