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SPaN: Social Participation and Neurodisability

Promoting Social Participation to Prevent Mental Health Problems in Children and Young People with Neurodisability: An Interventions Development Study.

The start date for this project was the 9 October 2017 and the anticipated project end date is 4 September 2018. This project is funded by the British Academy of Childhood Disability and The Castang Foundation. It is being carried out in collaboration with a number of researchers from Newcastle University.

Project Overview

Research has suggested children and young people with Neurodisability are less likely to participate socially, as compared to their peers. This can have a wider impact on their mental health and can have an effect into adulthood. As an area of importance this project aims to identify promising interventions that may enhance social participation and mental health in children and young people with Neurodisability.

Social participation is important for all children and young people. Social participation includes being involved in activities with others and having positive interactions and relationships with friends, family and the community. We believe it to be important for mental health and overall wellbeing.

Neurodisability is as an umbrella term for conditions associated with the nervous system. The nervous system is a network of nerves and cells that carry information to and from the brain and spinal cord to other areas of the body. The term ‘Neurodisability’ includes - but is not limited to - conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Epilepsy and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Some NHS interventions already target social participation and mental health outcomes. However, there is little research into more specific interventions to aid social participation. Some evidence exists for group-based and computer-based social skills interventions, as well as novel interventions using Lego. Although there is promise for interventions, more research is needed to identify those that are most effective.

To meet our aim of identifying interventions to improve social participation, we plan to run focus groups. In these focus groups individuals will be asked to give their views on various approaches to improving social participation. Together, these groups will help to identify between 5 and 10 interventions with the potential to improve social participation.

Interested in taking part?

What’s involved?

You will be asked to take part in a 1 to 2 hour focus group. In this focus group, you can discuss interventions/approaches that aim to improve social participation in children and young people with neurodisability. We will be running three types of focus groups: one made up of children and young people with neurodisability, one of parents and one of clinicians.

What is the criteria for taking part?

You must be either:

  • Aged between 6 and 16 with neurodisability.
  • The parent/carer of children and/or young people aged 6-16 with neurodisability.
  • A clinician currently work with children and young people aged 6-16 with neurodisability.

Research Project Team

Contact Us

For more information about the study please contact either Charlotte Lambert the Research Assistant: or Dr Rob Brooks the Principle Investigator:

Contact Research Assistant Right Arrow Contact Principal Investigator Right Arrow
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