Parents with Intellectual Disability in a Population Context

09 July 2015

Parenting by people with intellectual disability continues to confront societal sensibilities. On the one hand, parents with intellectual disability engage in the valued social role of raising children; on the other, their parenting attracts (typically negative) attention based on an expectation of their limited capacities to parent. The literature primarily addresses the question of whether or not parents with intellectual disability can be adequate parents or reports on methods for improving their parenting skills. An emerging trend in the literature over the last decade takes a different perspective. Rather than concentrating exclusively on parents with intellectual disability, this perspective focuses on their parenting situation compared to that of other parents more generally. This paper reviews the current state of knowledge about parents and parenting with intellectual disability in this broader population context. The focus of the paper is on the use of larger scale datasets to understand the situation of parents with intellectual disability compared with other parents and to examine the contextual variables that influence their parenting.