Children with Learning Disabilities and Challenging Behaviour: Relationship between Parents and Professionals

Prof Doc Thesis

Howell, Hilary 2016. Children with Learning Disabilities and Challenging Behaviour: Relationship between Parents and Professionals. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
AuthorsHowell, Hilary
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This multi-perspectival Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) study
explored how people in the ‘networks of concern’ talked about how they tried to
make sense of the challenging behaviours of four children with severe learning
disabilities. The study also aimed to explore what affected relationships
between people.
The study focussed on 4 children through interviewing their mothers, their
teachers and the Camhs Learning Disability team members who were working
with them. Two fathers also joined part of the interviews. All interviews were
conducted separately using a semi-structured approach. IPA allowed both a
consideration of the participant’s lived experiences and ‘objects of concern’ and
a deconstruction of the multiple contexts of people’s lives, with a particular
focus on disability. The analysis rendered five themes: the importance of love
and affection, the difficulties, and the differences of living with a challenging
child, the importance of being able to make sense of the challenges and the
value of good relationships between people. Findings were interpreted through
the lens of CMM (Coordinated Management of Meaning), which facilitated a
systemic deconstruction and reconstruction of the findings. The research found
that making sense of the challenges was a key concern for parents. Sharing
meanings were important for people’s relationships with each other, including
employing diagnostic and behavioural narratives. The importance of context is
also highlighted including a consideration of how societal views of disability
have an influence on people in the ‘network of concern’ around the child.
A range of systemic approaches, methods and techniques are suggested as
one way of improving services to these children and their families. It is
suggested that adopting a ‘both/and’ position is important in such work - both
applying evidence based approaches and being alert to and exploring the
different ways people try and make sense of the children’s challenges.
Implications for practice included helping professionals be alert to their
constructions and professional narratives, slowing the pace with families,
staying close to the concerns of families and addressing network issues.

Publication dates
PrintMar 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited01 Jun 2016
Publisher's version
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