Understanding Families: Supportive Approaches to Diversity, Disability, and Risk, Second Edition

Authors: Marci J. Hanson Ph.D., Eleanor W. Lynch Ph.D.

Format: Paperback, 304 pages, 7.0 x 10.0
ISBN: 9781598572155
Price: $44.95

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Today's American families are more complex and diverse than ever before—and today's child and family professionals must be fully prepared to meet their needs. Interventionists, educators, health care professionals, therapists, and social workers will get the strong foundation they need with the NEW edition of this trusted textbook, a comprehensive guide to working effectively and respectfully with contemporary families.

Highly respected experts Marci Hanson and Eleanor Lynch have expanded and updated their bestselling text, weaving in cutting-edge research on social, demographic, and economic changes and connecting the research to best practices in family-centered care. With a strong emphasis on family resilience, this book gets preservice and in-service professionals ready to

  • work with a broad range of families with diverse structures, backgrounds, and circumstances
  • communicate and collaborate effectively with every family they serve
  • support families of children with disabilities
  • advance strong parent–child attachment and interactions
  • match services and supports with each family's desired goals and outcomes
  • address risk factors such as poverty, addiction, and violence
  • promote the mental health of young children and their parents
  • apply human development theories in their work with children
  • defuse common sources of tension between families and professionals

With this cornerstone textbook, the new generation of child and family professionals will have the research and practical guidance they need to improve the lives and outcomes of 21st-century families.

WHAT'S NEW: Timely new information on:

  • Demographic changes in the past decade
  • Cultural and linguistic diversity
  • Economic issues caused by the recession
  • The needs of infants and very young children
  • Infant mental health

Plus helpful sample questions to guide service providers' interactions with families!


Review by: Deborah Chen, Professor, Department of Special Education
“An essential resource . . . Provides a thought-provoking focus on what matters in the incredibly complicated, dynamic, emotional, challenging, and ultimately satisfying process of understanding families.”
Review by: Kofi Marfo, Professor of Educational Psychology, University of South Florida, Tampa
“Continues the tradition of seeking to enhance developmental practice by fostering understandings that maximize the contributions of families to intervention processes and outcomes. This is a must-read for all developmental intervention professionals.”
Review by: Susan Sandall, Professor, Special Education, College of Education, University of Washington
“An updated version of a valued, comprehensive resource . . . offers exceptional guidance for a wide audience of helpgivers who want to use evidence-based practices to partner with and support families.”
Review by: Pam Winton, Senior Scientist and Director of Outreach at the FPG Child Development Institute; Research Professor in the School of Education. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“The sensitive and practical coverage of contemporary family issues that made the first edition a 'classic' for those teaching family courses has been continued and extended in this updated volume.”
Review by: Mary McLean, Kellner Professor of Early Childhood Education, Professor, Department of Exceptional Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
“An amazingly comprehensive source of information about families that will provide the foundation necessary for strengthening family-centered services in a variety of settings.”
Review by: Gail Ensher, Professor and Coordinator, Early Childhood Special Education Program and Inclusive Program in Multiple & Severe Disabilities, School of Education, Syracuse University
“A wonderful resource for students and professionals working with today's families in a diverse society . . . includes a wealth of helpful strategies and approaches for supporting and collaborating with families.”
Review by: Ann Turnbull, University of Kansas
“Marci and Ellie invite you and me to dwell in the possibility of all families. Their book is our open door.”
Review by: Jane Squires, Professor, Director, Center on Human Development, Early Intervention Program, University of Oregon
“Marci Hanson and Eleanor Lynch have once again written a foundational text . . . Updated and relevant for diverse 21st century families, this text will be a critical reference for teachers, administrators, and instructors.”

Table of Contents

About the Authors
About the Contributor: Marie Kanne Poulsen, Ph.D.

  1. Families in the 21st Century
  2. Cultural, Ethnic, and Linguistic Diversity
  3. Families in Context: Conceptual Frameworks for Understanding and Supporting Families
  4. Traditional and Evolving Family Roles and Functions
  5. Families with Children with Disabilities
  6. Families Living in Poverty
  7. Family Life At Risk: Pressure from Outside and Turmoil Within
  8. Infant/Family and Early Childhood Mental Health
       Marie Kanne Poulsen
  9. Creating Family–Professional Alliances
  10. Communicating and Collaborating with Families
  11. Strategies for Supporting Families
       Appendix 11A: Getting to Know Each Family
  12. Conclusion: The Family as Possibility


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