Research projects

Transition from primary to secondary school for children with neurodevelopmental disorders (2018–2019)

Transition from primary to secondary school for children with neurodevelopmental disorders: a cross-syndrome comparison of cognitive, behavioural, and mental health outcomes. Dr Olympia Palikara in collaboration with Dr Jo Van Herwegen (PI), Kingston University. This project is funded by the Baily Thomas Charitable Foundation.

Quality Evaluation Study of EHC plans

Dr Susana Castro and Dr Olympia Palikara are evaluating the newly developed Education, Health and Care plans that were introduced by the Children and Families Act and the SEND Code of Practice 2014, using a framework that has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation – the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health for Children and Youth. The project started in May 2015 and will end in January 2017. Sponsored by the British Academy/Leverhulme Trust. Details of the project can be found here.

ICF MedUse

Dr Susana Castro and Dr Olympia Palikara are collaborating with 5 European countries to develop a web-based application to assist with the development of support plans for children with special educational needs and disabilities. The application facilitates the description of the child's functioning by using a user-friendly and common language across countries and disciplines, thus aiming to promote multi-agency working in all countries involved. The project started in 2015 and will end in August 2018.

Froebelian pedagogy in light of the Children and Families Act 2014

Dr Susana Castro and Dr Olympia Palikara were awarded funding from the Froebel Trust to study how Froebelian pedagogy can be applied to supporting children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities from deprived backgrounds. The study involves the analysis of the Education, Health and Care plans of 40 children with SEND in one of the most deprived boroughs of the country, and triangulation of this data with parent and teacher questionnaires focusing on their perceptions about the new SEND policy in England and Wales.

Williams Syndrome

Raising awareness and meeting the needs of children and young people with Williams Syndrome under the new SEND Code of Practice in the UK, Dr Jo Van Herwegen and Dr Olympia Palikara, Kingston University. Sponsored by Williams Syndrome Foundation.

Children and Families Together for a Bright Future (2016–2017)

Good relationships between children and their parents, especially in the early years, are one of the key factors to raising healthy and happy children and the development of methodologically sound instruments to reliably assess the quality of parent-child relationships is highly important. Dr Angeliki Kallitsoglou is conducting a study to find out if the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task can be used to measure parent-child attachment relationships in a Southern European (Greece) sample of 4.5–6 year old children who attend nursery. Parent-child attachment will be looked at in relation to child emotional and behavioural difficulties, parenting practices and child family drawings. Supported by a CIRSIE and Santander Research Awards.

Reading Online Project (2017 – 2018)

Dr Wolfgang Mann leads this British Academy/Leverhulme funded investigation to identify information-seeking and evaluating strategies used by hearing and deaf children when reading internet-based materials. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Birmingham the project compares online reading strategies (i.e., the use of graphics, text, multiple pages and review strategies) in hearing children who use English and deaf children who use either English or British Sign Language as a preferred language. Our goal is to determine which cognitive skills map onto diverse outcomes in online reading. The findings will inform teaching methodologies for both hearing and deaf children.

Web-based British Sign Language Vocabulary Test Norming study (April 2017–December 2017)

Dr Wolfgang Mann received a Santander-research grant to collect performance scores from deaf children aged 4–11 years to standardize the Web-based British Sign Language Vocabulary Test (BSL-VT). This test was developed by Dr Mann for deaf children aged 4–15 years and is the first vocabulary test for sign language. The test is available on the DCAL assessments portal.