Exploring the Forest School Experience of Children with a Diagnosis of ADHD: A Photovoice Study

Szabo-Hemmings, Jozsef Christopher (2024) Exploring the Forest School Experience of Children with a Diagnosis of ADHD: A Photovoice Study. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Forest School is an outdoor learning approach which is growing in popularity in the UK. Contemporary research into nature-based interventions have demonstrated promising positive outcomes for children and young people (CYP) with a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, the findings in the existing literature are largely focused on the reduction of behaviours associated with ADHD, often referred to as ‘symptoms’. The current study aims to explore the subjective Forest School experience of CYP diagnosed with ADHD and the aspects of Forest School which they feel contribute to this. A participatory Photovoice methodology was employed which utilised photographs taken by the participants (N=4) to elicit their views during semi-structured interviews. The data collected was analysed using polytextual thematic analysis, an adapted version of thematic analysis which allowed for information within the visual images to be analysed alongside the verbal information gathered during the interviews. The findings of the current research suggest that CYP diagnosed with ADHD experience Forest School as relaxing and rewarding, as a place where they experience freedom, learning and connection away from the perceived demands of school. The aspects of Forest School which the participants identified as facilitating this experience included the physical, natural and social environment which provided a range of satisfying sensory and practical experiences and a sense of ‘being allowed’ to choose what to engage with. Drawing on critical educational psychology and social constructionist principles, the paper discusses how these findings may contribute to the discourse that the widely held view of ADHD is socially constructed and context-specific. The research has implications for educational psychology practice, both in the understanding of CYP diagnosed with ADHD’s needs and the alternative ways in which this population of learner’s needs may be met.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 24 May 2024 12:51
Last Modified: 24 May 2024 12:51
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/95299


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