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Early Positive Approaches to Support (E-PAtS)

Early Positive Approaches to Support (E-PAtS)

E-PAtS is currently funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Public Health Research programme, and the project is led by colleagues at the University of Kent.

Over more than 10 years we contributed to the development of a caregiver programme for families of young children (18 months to 5 years old) with learning disability (sometimes referred to as developmental delay or intellectual disability), called Early Positive Approaches to Support (E-PAtS). We want to find out if E-PAtS helps parents of children with learning disability. To do this, we are currently running a large-scale Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT).

The E-PAtS programme is co-delivered by trained parents who have children with learning disability and professionals, working in partnership. E-PAtS is comprised of 8 group sessions with up to 12 parents/caregivers. The group is designed to be an emotionally sensitive, safe and helpful space that is free from judgement. Each session is 2.5 hours and focus on supporting the emotional and wellbeing needs of caregivers, helping families to access the services they need and practical strategies to support children’s development and behaviour (including sleep, communication, behaviour problems, and everyday skills). The sessions are a mixture of presentations, video, group discussions and interactive exercises.

You can find out more about E-PAtS and the intervention logic from this earlier study (, and read about the results of our earlier feasibility RCT here (

To read more about the current RCT study, please go to the project website: