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The Family Research Group at the University of Warwick are working with the charities Cerebra, Mencap, Ambitious about Autism and ENABLE Scotland on a new study called Support in the Early Years, to explore the experiences of families of young children with a diagnosed or suspected learning disability and/or autism in the UK. The study will focus on the use of and access to support in the early years, as well as family and parental wellbeing.

This study will further our understanding of what support families access in the early years, what may prevent them from accessing services, and what could help to improve access to early years support. This research will also help us to develop ways to increase access to early intervention and support for families of children with learning disabilities and/or autism in the UK in future research projects.

Are you the parent or parental caregiver of a child aged 0-6 years old (from birth until the day before their 7th birthday) with a diagnosed or suspected learning disability and/or autism and live in the UK? If you are interested in taking part, please click here.

Why is this research important?

Suzi Scott, PhD student in CEDAR at the University of Warwick, said:

“It’s crucial that families who have a child with a learning disability and/or autism are able to access the support they need when their child is young. The purpose of my PhD research is to improve access to early intervention and early years support for young children with learning disabilities and/or autism.

“Our ‘Support in the Early Years’ study is a key part of my research and will help develop understanding of the experiences of families across the UK. It is an honor to be conducting this research in partnership with such fantastic charities – Cerebra, Mencap, Ambitious about Autism and ENABLE Scotland, each bringing their invaluable experience working with families.
 
“The Family Research Group at the University of Warwick is part of CEDAR, an internationally acknowledged research centre carrying out research on a range of educational and psychological issues. CEDAR’s research focuses on special educational needs and inclusion, disability across the lifespan (especially learning disability and autism), and parenting and families research."


Tracy Elliott, Head of Research and Information at Cerebra, said:

“Cerebra is the charity that works with families who include children with brain conditions. By listening to families we know that it can be difficult for them to access the support they need and are entitled to in the early years.

“This research project will explore the current levels of access to early years support across the UK and what factors/things are related to families accessing (or not accessing) support in these early years. The evidence gathered in this study will be the foundation for future research aiming to develop ways to improve access to early years support for families who have a young child with a developmental disability.”




 

Margaret Kelly, Strategic Lead for Early Intervention at Mencap, said:

“We are delighted to be a key partner with the University of Warwick and other charities in this research project exploring access to early intervention and early years support for families who have a young child with a learning disability and/or autism.

“There are currently around 119,000 children under the age of 7 who have a learning disability in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and we believe every young child with a learning disability should have access to early intervention services that support their development from birth.“

At Mencap, we are committed to ensuring children with a learning disability and their families have access to effective early intervention services and approaches and we believe hearing from parents and caregivers themselves is vital to both understand how they access support and how we can increase their access to support.”

Alison Worsley, Director of External Affairs at Ambitious about Autism, said:

“Ambitious about Autism is a national charity for children and young people with autism. We provide services, raise awareness and understanding, and campaign for change. Our ambition is to make the ordinary possible for more children and young people with autism.

“Early intervention and support are critical if children and young people with autism are to learn, thrive and achieve – but we know many families face a struggle to access the help they need. This important research will help us identify and better understand those challenges – in turn helping parents to better support their children during crucial early years.”

 

ENABLE Scotland, said:

“ENABLE Scotland is a charity founded in 1954 by the parents of children who had learning disabilities. For over sixty years, we’ve campaigned for every child who has a learning disability to have the same opportunities in life as every other child in Scotland.

“The experience of our members and our own research has revealed the challenges faced by parents in the early years, especially around obtaining a diagnosis of a learning disability or autism and accessing appropriate support. We are excited to be involved in this important research and look forward to using the findings to inform our continuing work to deliver an equal society for every person who has a learning disability in Scotland.”

Want to find out more or receive updates about our study?

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the study, please contact the research team at
familyresearch@warwick.ac.uk or 024 7657 5866.

We will provide updates on the research here on our website as well as through our
social media pages. You can follow us on Twitter (@Family_RG1) and/or Facebook (www.facebook.com/FamilyRG1) to keep up-to-date with the research.
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You can also sign up for our Family Research newsletter below. This mainly focuses on
our Cerebra 1,000 Families study but also covers findings and updates from other family research from CEDAR.
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Find out more about taking part in the study

Click here to take part in the study

- Subscribe to our newsletter
- Link to our Newsletter - May 2018

- Link to our Newsletter - May 2017


To learn more about the Family Research Group and our partners, please visit our websites:

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 Cerebra   cerebra_small.jpg 

Mencap


Mencap
Northern Ireland

Mencap Cymru

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