Written by Dr Carolyn Blackburn, Research Fellow in Early Childhood Studies, Centre for Research in Education.
Early Intervention (EI) has the potential to improve children’s long term outcomes socially, emotionally and educationally as noted by recent English policy reports. However, there is a paucity of specialist EI services and educator training for children with complex disabilities, such as those with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders or children born extremely prematurely (Carpenter et al., 2011).
The Champion Centre (picture above) provides relationship-based EI services to infants and young children with complex disabilities. Parents and children visit the Centre each week and have one-on-one individualised sessions with each of the members of a multi-disciplinary team. Children who attend the Champion Centre in their early years are more likely to subsequently attend mainstream primary education than children who have not received comparable EI services.
The aim of this project is to capture effective and best practice by talking to practitioners and parents at the Champion Centre and observing children’s therapeutic sessions. An additional aim is to build international relationships within an interdisciplinary context that could be mutually beneficial for all stakeholders concerned with children with complex disabilities in the UK.
During her visit Carolyn will also work with Positive Path International to identify further educational settings that support children with complex disabilities to enrich her data and deliver CPD to educators in New Zealand.
The project is the outcome of a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust 2015 Fellowships that will provide the funds for Carolyn to visit New Zealand for one month with the aim of “travelling to learn and returning to inspire.”