Getting it Right from the Start - The Early Intervention Project

Our latest newsletter is all about getting it right from the start. You can download a PDF version of the full newsletter or read it online on Issuu. You can read more about the Early Intervention Project here and more about what interventions might have helped Kinton's family here.

The project

The Department of Health has funded the CBF and the Council for Disabled Children on a three year project to improve early intervention for children with learning disabilities whose behaviour is described as challenging.

We are now nearing the end of year one.  So, what have we done, what have we learnt and what happens next?

What we have done so far…

We have been looking at what works and what doesn’t work for children with learning disabilities whose behaviours challenge.  Families and those working in this field will not be surprised that the research evidence shows a huge lack of support for children and their families.  This can lead to crisis point.  Where services are offered research shows they are often not effective in improving the quality of life for children and families. This needs to change.

The project has been working hard to improve understanding of the need for support as soon as behaviours that challenge occur (or before that if it is known that a child may be at risk).  We are pleased that these messages are being heard and that some of the groups responsible for driving forward national policy have agreed to increase their focus on children, young people and their families.

But what does work? What should good early intervention look like?   We have run seven workshops over the past year to gather views from family carers, professionals, staff, commissioners, providers and members of the Challenging Behaviour National Strategy group.  We are consulting children and young people directly, ensuring that the project is guided by the experiences of children with learning disabilities and behaviours described as challenging. 

What have we learnt?

There is a huge amount of agreement about what good early intervention should look like.  The graphic (below) shows the vision of early intervention developed with 27 family carers.  There is a huge appetite for change among professionals and commissioners in many areas of the country and they need more information and support to help them work with families to get it right from the start.

What happens next?

Evidence paper: We are grateful to a group of key academics who are working to pull together the data and research evidence into a briefing paper.  This will form a strong case for better early intervention.

Education Health and Care Plan (EHCs) resource: We will publish resources later this year to support those developing EHCs (which are replacing statements) for children with learning disabilities whose behaviours are described as challenging.

Case Studies: We will document “what works” to show how early intervention can be achieved and what its benefits are.

Influencing: We will continue to hold the Government and national organisations to account for the support offered to children and young people with the aim that the vision (below) becomes reality for children and families.

To keep in touch with the work of the project please join our email reference group for updates  or contact Project Manager Jacqui Shurlock on or 01634 838 739.


Graphic of the vision of Early Intervention developed with 27 family carers and illustrated by Pen Mendonça. Click on the image to see an enlarged version as a PDF. 

This article is taken from our Summer newsletter. You can download a PDF version of the full newsletter or read it online on Issuu.

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