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Early Positive Approaches to Support (E-PAtS)


Early Positive Approaches to Support (E-PAtS)

E-PAtS is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research, and is in collaboration with the University of Kent, Cardiff University and Mencap.

We have developed 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 would need to run a large-scale Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT). However, before we can do this, we need to run this feasibility study to ensure that the research design is feasible.

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.

In the feasibility study we have recruited families of young children (aged between 18 months and 5 years old) with learning disability who have been randomised to either receive E-PAtS immediately or after a one-year delay. The primary objective is to assess the feasibility of delivering E-PAtS successfully to parents/caregivers of children (18 months-5 years) with ID by community parenting support provider organisations.

We are in the final stages of data collection for this study, as of July 2019, and will update this page with the results when they are published.