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Title: An exploration of the ways in which children with Communication Difficulties can be enabled to express views on their experience of meeting Educational Professionals : an action research project
Author: Howarth, Imogen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 5138
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2013
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This action research explored the ways in which children with Communication Difficulties could be enabled to express views on meeting educational professionals, particularly Educational Psychologists for the purpose of Statutory Assessment (SA). It built upon the body of literature on children’s participation and especially the importance of hearing the marginalised voice of children with Communication Difficulties in educational settings. Uniquely, the research elicited children’s understandings of the process and outcomes of assessment: looking beyond describing what they did or did not like. The research was framed by Self Determination Theory. Exploring the restraining and enabling factors in this process was the original contribution of this research to the field. A social constructionist epistemology underpinned this research: positioning children’s views as constructed through the interactive, cyclical process of being listened to, and acted upon. Each of the four stages of the research process led serially to the next, culminating in a final detailed piece of research. For this final research stage, thirteen children with Communication Difficulties, aged between six and ten years and attending mainstream settings, were recruited. They were observed giving views on their recent experiences of SA, supported by an adult and using an iPad application developed in the preceding stages. Semi-structured interviews followed the observations, using an explanatory leaflet about SA also developed during the research. These findings were then thematically analysed using a deductive approach. Findings identified particular socio-contextual factors that are perceived as enabling or restraining by children with Communication Difficulties. They were less likely to have contextually appropriate ways to respond to questions due to a lack of preparation, explanation and previous opportunities to practise giving views. Difficulties in communication were supported by conduits that encouraged alternative methods of communication and provided visual structure. Supporting adults played a key role within collaborative relationships that boosted the children’s autonomy and encouraged their competence. Outcomes from the research included the importance of: child-friendly information concerning the SA process and especially with a focus on preparing a child to meet with an EP; a multi-media application to support children’s views; a checklist for EPs and good practice guidance for schools.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Ch.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral