Share share mail


20 June 2013

Australian parenting squad to help children with special needs

A squad of 160 health and education professionals will be trained across Queensland, Australia, under a new project to help improve the lives of children with special needs.

The Stepping Stones Triple P (SSTP) Project brings together an expert research team from The University of Queensland, Monash University in Melbourne, and The University of Sydney.


It’s the first population-level parenting intervention in the world of its kind for children with special needs, and will help 170,000 children across Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales by providing free individual and group support to parents and caregivers.


UQ principal investigator and Triple P – Positive Parenting Program founder Professor Matt Sanders said today the project aims to reduce emotional and behavioral problems in children with disabilities by providing free Triple P support to parents.


“Research shows Triple P’s Stepping Stones program for parents of children with special needs can reduce child behavior problems by up to 80 per cent,” he said.


“It also shows that left untreated, problem behavior in children with disabilities tends to worsen during childhood and adolescence and often continues into adulthood.”


Parents who have gone through the Stepping Stones program report greater success in teaching their children new skills, with improvements maintained at a one-year follow-up, and higher levels of parental competence and satisfaction.


Research also shows young people with disabilities experience up to four times the emotional and behavioral problems of typically developing children.


“It’s very clear that parents of special needs children need more support to be the best parents they can be, which we know leads to better outcomes for children, for families and for parents’ mental health,” Professor Sanders said.


From July, Queensland parents will be able to access 18 months of free individual and group parenting support. A website will be launched to provide parents with all the details they need to book in for parenting sessions with their nearest practitioner.


The SSTP Project is designed to roll out gradually across Queensland to allow time to train professionals in different levels of Stepping Stones in different regions.


To find out more about the Stepping Stones Triple P Project go to the website.



The Stepping Stones Triple P (SSTP) Project is a five-year project funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council to evaluate the effectiveness of Triple P’s Stepping Stones program in reducing behavioral and emotional problems in children with a disability across a population.  The project brings together researchers from The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney and Monash University.