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Title: How can Educational Psychologists, School Practitioners, and Parents/Carers Come to a Shared Understanding of and Promote the Mental Wellbeing of Children and Young People with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities?
Authors: Fitzpatrick, Dominic Josef Miles
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis explores how mental wellbeing for children and young people (CYP) with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) might be understood and promoted in schools. These CYP are significantly more likely to experience issues with their mental wellbeing yet receive less attention in government guidance, policy, and in research. Their dependence on others has engendered debate about the usefulness and inclusivity of general mental health definitions and how to understand and promote their mental wellbeing. One definition, concerning their ability to ‘feel good and function well’, may be more applicable. However, this may depend on their engagement; the critical interaction between what is happening with or around them. Chapter 1 describes a Systematic Literature Review (SLR) exploring what approaches described in research literature enhance the engagement of these CYP. Seven studies were located, narratively described regarding impact on engagement, and visually mapped using thematic networks. Themes culminated in an overarching global theme ‘Quality of Space’; the extent to which environments facilitate conditions for enhanced engagement. Findings suggest that mental wellbeing for these CYP may relate to the extent to which the environment provides the quality of space needed to enhance their engagement and ability to ‘feel good and function well’. Chapter 2 discusses the philosophical, methodological, and ethical decisions made in attempting to explore this research topic. Chapter 3 addresses the research question: “How might Educational Psychologists, school practitioners, and parents/carers collaborate to understand and promote the mental wellbeing of CYP with PMLD?” An eclectic methodology was used involving ethnographic observation and video recordings of the CYP, as well as dialogic consultation with adults. Abbreviated Realist Grounded Theory was used to analyse consultation transcripts relating to adults’ perspectives on the CYP’s engagement with day-to-day activities and how these may be promoting their mental wellbeing. Findings provided a tentative model for understanding and promoting these CYP’s mental wellbeing. An individualised approach to promoting opportunities for positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments (PERMA+) was highlighted as important along with reflection on curricula and educational purpose for these CYP. Chapter 4 reflects on the learning acquired in completing this project. This specifically outlines what the project means for me as a soon to be qualified Educational Psychologist, what the implications are for others I may encounter in both a personal and professional capacity, and appropriate next steps as a qualified researcher-practitioner psychologist.
Description: D. App. Ed. Psy. Thesis.
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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