Educational psychologists have a duty to gather the views of children: can a Talking MatsTM approach help?

Taylor, Ailsa (2023) Educational psychologists have a duty to gather the views of children: can a Talking MatsTM approach help? Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Whilst the voice of the child has increasingly become a focus within special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) processes within the UK, the practicalities of how professionals really listen to children have been left wanting. Educational Psychologists (EPs) have a responsibility to listen to children as part of the statutory assessment process, which can be challenging when children have difficulty accessing more commonly used discussion methods, for example those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN). The current study aims to address the gap in the literature on approaches EPs can use when trying to elicit the views of children with SLCN. A mixed methods, multiple case study methodology was used to explore the experiences of four Trainee/Educational Psychologists (T/EPs) and an assistant EP (at the interview phase only), using a Talking MatsTM (TMs) approach with children who have SLCN when gathering their views for education health and care (EHC) needs assessments. Analysis of data collected over three phases highlighted that the use of a TMs approach; (i) aligns with person-centred approaches and related tools already used by T/EPs, (ii) facilitates engagement through a task that is interactive and allows the child to communicate their views without pressure to talk, (iii) feeds into the needs, outcomes, and provision sections of the psychological advice indirectly, and sometimes directly. Personalisation and adaptability are important elements when considering ways to develop the tool further and there is potential for wider application, beyond children with SLCN and the EHC needs assessment process.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2023 09:49
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2023 09:49


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