What is it about?

Children with learning disabilities (LD), that is, children with IQ typically in the normal range who have difficulties in reading, writing and maths that lead to low school achievement, often have socio-emotional difficulties as well. Their parents may feel stressed and the family system may spin around the child difficulties. Unique Minds is a multiple family program originally developed in the USA in which a group of children with LD and their parents work together through seven weekly 90 minutes sessions to address these difficulties. In this article we explain how we adapted the program for use in Spain. We also report the results of a feasibility study with a sample of 15 children with LD and their mothers.

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Why is it important?

Cultural adaptation is more than the translation of the materials into a different language. It’s a lengthy process which requires us to examine and adapt the language, the metaphors, the context, the content, the mode of delivery and the relationships between client families and the facilitators. We hope that others seeking to adapt programs in different countries or cultures will find this account helpful. Results from the implementation of the adapted Spanish version (Mentes Únicas) found a high level of acceptability to children and mothers. Further, pre-post standardized outcome measures showed promising results, indicating a general decrease in children's maladjustment, and relationship difficulties.


The cultural adaptation of a program is more challenging that it first appears. It is very much a learning process, in which the evaluation of implementation and outcomes is essential. We learnt, for example, that the program had little impact on the teachers’ perspectives of the children and that we need to engage teachers more effectively. Related with this, we also learned that we should add a last eighth session to address the family-school relationship and collaboration in more depth. Another lesson which may interest family therapists and other practitioners is that the facilitators were able to work jointly with children and their parents. Using different visual and written materials in the sessions of the program, parents and children did a lot together not just talking. Our exploratory, feasibility study is a first step and there is much more to do. We believe that Mentes Únicas is a potentially cost-effective program and we consider that it is worthy of implementation and testing in different services.

Dr. Silvia López-Larrosa
Universidade da Coruna

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Adapting the Unique Minds Program: Exploring the Feasibility of a Multiple Family Intervention for Children with Learning Disabilities in the Context of Spain, Family Process, April 2016, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/famp.12215.
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