Tag Archives: survey

Support in the Early Years Survey

We are working with the Family Research Group at the University of Warwick, as well as with Mencap,  Ambitious about Autism and ENABLE Scotland on a new study focusing on Support in the Early Years for families of young children with learning disability and/or autism in the UK.

If you are the parent or parental caregiver of a child aged 0-6 years old (from birth until the day before their 7th birthday) with a diagnosed or suspected learning disability and/or autism, we would like to invite you to participate by completing our brief survey.

Your child might have other conditions as well – as long as your child has a diagnosis or suspected diagnosis of a learning disability (sometimes referred to as intellectual disability, developmental delay or special educational needs) and/or autism and lives in the UK, we are keen to hear from you.

We are exploring the experiences of families of young children with learning disability and/or autism in the UK, particularly related to their use and access to support services such as early intervention and early years support. This study will further our understanding of what support families access in the early years, what may prevent them from accessing services, and what could help to improve access to early years support. This research will also help us to develop ways to increase access to early intervention and support for families of children with learning disabilities and/or autism in the UK.

You can find out more about the study here 

You can complete the survey online here  or request a paper copy by e-mailing familyresearch@warwick.ac.uk.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the study, please don’t hesitate to contact the research team by email: familyresearch@warwick.ac.uk or telephone: 02476 575 866.

We really appreciate your time and support. Thank you.

Do you want to see better services for people with neurodevelopmental conditions?

We are working with other charities to understand how we can better support children with brain conditions and their families and we need your help.

We want to understand what life is like for the people we represent. We want to learn about the realities of living with more than one neurodevelopmental condition (diagnosed or not).

Our partners in this project include Autistica, the Neurological Alliance, MQ, Tourettes Action, Afasic, Epilepsy Action and many more. We all want to make sure families are properly supported. Working together we have developed a survey to understand the reality of life with a neurodevelopmental condition. Our goal is to understand what support and services are making a difference and where there are gaps in the help families need.

The more responses we get, the more we will understand about how to improve the support families receive and how we should be targeting our work.

So if you want to see better services for people with neurodevelopmental conditions have your say here.  It would be great if you could also share it with your family, friends and other contacts.

Thank you. Together we can work wonders for children with brain conditions.




Direct Payments Survey

In response to enquiries from our members our Legal Entitlements And Problem-solving (LEAP) team are carrying out an electronic survey to find out what families of disabled children think about the direct payment system.

If you’re already using, will be using or used to use direct payments we would be very grateful if you’d consider taking part in the survey.

You can find the survey here together with more information about it. It should take no more than 10-12 minutes to complete and the responses are totally anonymous. Thanks in advance for helping with this important work.

Cerebra Survey Results – Diagnosis Delay and Disabled Children

Families of disabled children are experiencing substantial delays in getting an NHS diagnosis. Support services are not always offered, when they are they often do not meet the needs of the family and too few parents are being given written information when they receive their diagnosis.  Moreover parents are reluctant to complain about any of this. This is the conclusion drawn from a survey of Cerebra members carried out in October 2015.

The laws of the four nations of the UK place enforceable duties on public bodies to provide education, health and social care support for disabled children. The research evidence suggests that disabled children and their families experience considerable difficulties in accessing these rights and in consequence, in accessing good quality health, social care and educational provision.  To help address this, Cerebra fund a research programme – The Legal Entitlements Research Project.  A key element of the research is to see if effective processes can be developed to enable commonly occurring social, health and educational support problems to be resolved speedily and with the minimum of conflict.  The research programme works by accepting referrals from family members, those referrals are answered individually but records kept of the issues referred.  An analysis of the referrals identified a number of ‘generic problem areas’ and a recurring theme ‘in many of the cases’ is that of delay:

  • Delay in carrying out assessments and reaching a diagnosis;
  • Delay in putting in place support services or adaptations;
  • Delay in responding to expressions of concern by families.

To test this finding of delay further, between 21st September and 14th October 2014 we carried out a survey of Cerebra members.  While any survey can only provide a snap shot of the experience of those that answered the survey the high response rate of 1937 parents, in a three week period, is noteworthy.  Of those 1937 respondents, 1452 (or 74%) reported that they had experienced a delay that they identified as being problematic.

Summary of Survey Results

We asked ‘how long did you have to wait for a diagnosis (from your first request to the delivery of the diagnosis).  A significant number of respondents (783 or 44%) had to wait over two years for a diagnosis; of note is that 320 respondents had to wait more than 5 years.  These are substantial waits in the context of childhood.

We asked if families had been given a reason for the delay and over half (53%) were given no explanation.  Of those given an explanation, the most common explanation was ‘reluctance to place a diagnostic label on a child’ and/or ‘shortage of suitable experts/waiting lists’.

We went on to ask if the respondent felt that harm had resulted from the delay and if so, what that harm was.  1024 respondents (71%) said that they did believe harm had resulted from the delay and that harm was categorised as:

  • Impact on the health and/or well-being of the child;
  • Impact on the education of the child;
  • Impact on the health and/or well-being of carers or other family members; and/or
  • Financial impact – this was largely about taking unpaid leave, reducing working hours or giving up work.

We also asked about the support the family received after diagnosis.  The majority of respondents (53%) said they were not offered follow-up support and of those who were offered follow-up support, 37% felt that the support offered did not meet their needs.  We asked respondents if they were given any written information about their child’s condition or signposted to organisations that could assist them, 59% said they were not.

Finally we asked respondents if they had raised any concerns or made a complaint about the delay in acquiring a diagnosis or lack of support following a diagnosis.  Only 457 respondents had raised any formal concerns and of those only 108 felt their concern was dealt with to their satisfaction.

This survey demonstrates that Cerebra families:

  • are experiencing delay, sometimes a very significant delay, in getting a NHS diagnosis and these delays are causing difficulties for families;
  • support services are not always offered and/or do not meet the needs of families;
  • too few parents are being given written information or signposted elsewhere; and
  • carers are reluctant to complain, when they do complain their concerns are often not dealt with adequately.

What is Cerebra doing to help address these issues?

We are developing a toolkit that aims to support families and their advisers, who are encountering difficulties with the statutory agencies in relation to the provision of health, social care and education support services. UK law provides powerful rights to access such support services, but our research shows that this alone is insufficient. The law can be complicated and difficult to understand.  It can be daunting, exhausting and sometimes intimidating to challenge public officials.

The Toolkit aims to develop effective strategies that families can use for themselves or advisers can use with families.  Strategies that will help to unpick commonly occurring problems and to develop effective strategies for resolving them.  It is based on the idea that it is in no one’s interests, including those of the public bodies, to have these commonly occurring problems and that most such problems are capable of being resolved without lawyers and without great expense to anyone.

Keep a look out for the toolkit which will be with you soon.

Diagnosis delay and disabled children

At Cerebra we have identified that a delay in getting a diagnosis of your child’s condition in the UK can be a problem and that these delays can impact on the well-being of the child and/or his or her family. We’d like to find out more about the experiences of families in gaining a diagnosis for their child or children and we would be grateful if you could help us by completing a short survey. The results of this survey will be used to inform our work and enable us to better support families in the future.

Who can participate?

We are looking for parents and carers of children with a neurological condition who have, or who are waiting for, a diagnosis of their child’s condition. This survey relates to diagnosis and delay in the UK only. Neurological conditions include for example: developmental disabilities; learning disabilities; genetic syndromes; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Cerebral Palsy; ADHD; and seizure disorders (this is not an exhaustive list). If you have one or more children with such disabilities we’d like to hear about your experiences.

If you require a paper copy of the survey, please email Beverley Hitchcock at beverleyh@cerebra.org.uk. (please specify if you require larger text).

How long will the survey take me to complete?

We estimate the survey will take around 2-5 minutes to complete.

Is the survey easy to complete?

Yes, all the questions are multiple choice or just require very short answers, you do not have to fill in the sections that ask for more information but if you have something to share we’d like to hear about it.

Will my information be confidential?

All data collected will remain anonymous and will be kept in a database that is only accessible to those working on the survey.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

Your contribution to this research is invaluable. While you may not directly benefit by completing this survey we hope that the information you give us will help inform Cerebra’s work in this area and potentially help other parents and young people in future.

What do I do if I experience any problems with the survey or want to complain?

Please email Beverley Hitchcock at beverleyh@cerebra.org.uk.

Please click here to complete the survey.

JLA childhood neurodisability research priorities – Top 10 published!

The James Lind Alliance

The James Lind Alliance

The James Lind Alliance (JLA) research priority setting partnership publishes its top 10 research questions that still need to be answered on the effectiveness of interventions for childhood neurodisability.

The aim of the James Lind Alliance Childhood Disability Research Priority Setting Partnership was to identify and prioritise unanswered questions about the effectiveness of interventions for children and young people with neurodisability from patient, carer and clinical perspectives.

Suggestions were gathered in an open survey, aggregated and framed as research questions, then checked against existing systematic reviews of research evidence to ensure they were unanswered. The topics were initially prioritised in a vote with stakeholders, and then discussed at a workshop by young people, parent carers and clinicians.

The final prioritisation workshop was held on 5 June 2014 at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in London. Participants in the workshop came from various regions of England.

There were three young adults with neurodisability, seven parent carers, three representatives from generic child disability charities (including Cerebra), a disability advisor in education, and eight health professionals (paediatrician, speech and language therapist, three physiotherapists, occupational therapist, nurse, orthopaedic surgeon). Three representatives from NIHR observed the meeting.

The group succeeded in prioritising the 25 uncertainties shortlisted from earlier stages, and a Top 10 was agreed. The Steering Group will meet again in September to review progress with our dissemination strategy.

To find out more about the work and all the topics considered and prioritised, please visit: