The Nurturing Program: An Intervention for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Rosalinda Strano Burton, Jennifer Zwahr-Castro, Cara L. Magrane, Hugo Hernandez, Laura G. Farley, Nancy Amodei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Evidence-based psychosocial family interventions enhancing empathy and empowerment are particularly beneficial to families of children who have developmental disabilities. This study assessed the effectiveness of an intervention called the Nurturing Program for Parents and Their Children with Special Needs and Health Challenges (SNHC). Eighty-seven families were enrolled and randomly assigned to a control or treatment group. Forty-six families in the control group received individualized case management (CM) services and forty-one families in the treatment group were assigned to 12 sessions of the SNHC curriculum along with case management services. Before and after the intervention, participants in both conditions completed the Adult and Adolescent Parenting Index-2 assessing parents’ attitudes toward child rearing and the Family Empowerment Scale (FES) measuring family empowerment. Caregivers in the intervention condition improved in empathy towards children’s needs, F(1, 54) = 4.52, p =.04; and all families, both control group and treatment group, improved their attitudes towards the use of corporal punishment by posttest, F(1, 54) = 6.56, p =.013. Also, all caregivers increased in their empowerment over the course of the intervention, F(1, 50) = 13.28, p =.001. Attrition, 22–26% among CM and 51–56% among SNHC+CM, limited generalizability as did participants not completing all SNHC sessions. Despite these limitations, findings suggest that early interventions catering to families of children with developmental disabilities have a positive impact on parenting. To varying degrees, both conditions provided caregivers with tools that positively affected the quality of the parent–child relationships and promoted empowerment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1137-1149
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • Case management
  • Developmental disability
  • Empathy
  • Empowerment
  • Parenting intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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