PhD 2016 Competition Scholarships, Manchester Metropolitan University

Project title:
Identifying the intervention factors believed to support children who are non-speaking learn to use their prescribed symbol communication aid: hearing the voices of children, families and clinicians.

Project summary:
This PhD studentship aims to identify factors which improve the health and wellbeing outcomes of children and young people who have little or no intelligible speech and need to use symbol communication aids to communicate. It will explore the teaching and learning interventions available to support children to become independent and effective communicators through interactions involving aided communication.

Project aims and objectives:
This PhD studentship will explore the factors influencing the development of skills enabling meaningful use of a communication aid.
The specific aim is to influence current practice to improve the consistency and quality of teaching interventions to support a child learn to use their symbol communication aid.
The objectives of the project are to:
1. Understand what is perceived as important in terms of teaching and learning strategies to support symbol communication aid use; and what barriers and facilitators impact on the implementation of these strategies.
2. Understand and agree the factors that influence the strategies adopted, related to the child, the family and the communication aid.
3. Explore how this process takes account of the perspectives of all involved; specifically how children, parents and clinicians perceive the effectiveness of existing and historic teaching and learning interventions.

Research questions may include:
The doctoral study could investigate three key research questions in order to meet the aims and objectives of the project. The detail of these questions will be negotiated with the successful candidate:
1. What attributes related to the child, and generic communication aids, do clinicians consider when developing an intervention plan to support the effective use of a communication aid?
2. What other factors influence or inform the final teaching and learning strategies adopted?
3. What attributes are considered important by other participants (e.g. the child and family) and how do these impact in the short, medium and long term?

Supervisory Team
Informal enquiries can be made to:
Dr Janice Murray
Tel: +44 (0)161 247 2570
Email: [email protected]
Prof Juliet Goldbart
Email: [email protected]

How to apply:
Further details can be found via this link.

Closing date
21 March 2016 (9am)