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Title: An exploration of the use of collective preferences when making joint decisions as part of a multi-professional team that supports children with austism who are at risk of being excluded
Author: McCartney, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 5692
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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Multi-professional collaborative working is central to developing interventions for children with autism who are at risk of exclusion. This thesis aims to explore how professionals working as part of a multi-professional group develop interventions for children, who have autism spectrum condition and are at risk of exclusion, from the perspective of inter-professional collaboration and the theoretical framework of Collective Preferences. Collective Preferences (Gilbert, 2001; Rose, 2011) suggests that professionals experience tension relating to control, role and identity when working collaboratively with other professionals. The research is designed to explore the range of factors that may impact on how multi-professional teams make decisions in support of a child with autism. My thesis is an interpretivist study using semi-structured focus group interviews (Phase One) and discussion groups (Phase Two). Phase one aims to explore the perceptions that professional groups hold regarding the purpose of multi-agency working and the tensions they encounter when working as part of a multi-professional team developing an intervention for a child with autism who is at risk of exclusion. Data were transcribed and analysed using an abductive thematic analysis approach. Emergent themes are discussed in the context of relevant literature. Participants hailed from four professional groups within a single local authority in the South West region of England, educational psychology, special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCos), Communication and Interaction Team workers and speech and language therapists. Phase one consisted of 12 participants across four data collecting sessions. The focus groups were organised based upon their professional occupation. Each focus group consisted of participants from the same profession. Phase two consisted of mixed-profession discussion groups. The participants were tasked with developing an intervention for a hypothetical child with autism and at risk of exclusion, using a vignette. Phase two consisted of four data collecting sessions, with 15 participants spread across them. The analysis revealed themes relating to the breadth of experience and views participants had regarding multi-professional collaborative working. The findings identified strategies that school-based professionals used that incorporated and moved beyond the theoretical principles of Collective Preferences when working collaboratively. Further to this, my study identified themes that impacted upon a professional's Scope of Practice when working collaboratively to support a child with autism at risk of exclusion. Such themes outline the behaviour and experiences of professionals when collaborating as part of their role. The study also identified strategies that multi-professional teams will use when interacting with one another and the interventions that may be put in place to support children with autism, at risk of exclusion. Commissioning practices were also identified as critical areas that impacted upon a professionals Scope of Practice and subsequent interactions during multi-professional collaborative working. The implications of the findings for educational psychology practice are discussed. These explore how educational psychologist can navigate areas of tension during multi-professional collaborative working. Furthermore, a framework of interventions that support the child is outlined. Additionally, the on-going role of educational psychologists within a quasi-market context is considered. Exploring, how educational psychologists can organisationally position themselves to advocate for the values of the profession, and the role they may adopt to work alongside commissioners of psychological services such as schools.
Supervisor: Larkin, S. ; Shields, W. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Multi-professional ; collaborative ; collaboration ; problem-solving ; autism ; multi-agency ; collective preferences ; professionalism ; commissioning ; scope of practice ; role ; identity ; professional ; education