The PAMS Assessment Tool was introduced in 1998 by Dr Sue McGraw. It was designed to assess parents who have different levels of understanding. It uses knowledge cartoons, a parent booklet, worksheets and observation forms. The information gathered during the course of the assessment is entered into a software programme which in turn produces graphs. A Report can then be generated for an analysis to be completed. PAMS is a licensed product. I have undertaken training to use this software which I have purchased and have a licence to use. A PAMS Assessment takes between 10-12 weeks to complete.
If a parent has had a cognitive assessment that concludes that they have a learning disability, an assessment of their parenting capacity needs to be undertaken using tools that the parent can understand. Generally, when a parent has difficulty in processing verbal and written information, pictures can be used to encourage the parent to explain what they know about parenting. Questionnaires can be used to break down aspects of parenting into smaller chunks so that they do not become overwhelmed with too much information at any one time.
Observations are an important way of assessing the capacity of parents with a learning disability; it can help to ascertain what they know and what they need to learn in order to be able to perform the various tasks required to care for their children safely and appropriately.