Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) programme:Child-centred approach, building trust, listening and valuing children’s voices: A grounded theory analysis

Balampanidou, Kristina (2019) Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) programme:Child-centred approach, building trust, listening and valuing children’s voices: A grounded theory analysis. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Full text available

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Abstract

The Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) programme was developed in 2001 with the aim to increase schools' capacity to support children and young people (CYP) with social emotional mental health (SEMH) difficulties. The majority of the current research includes staff's views (Bravery & Harris, 2009; Burton, Traill, & Norgate, 2009; Cardiff Educational Psychology Service, 2012; Dodds & Brake, 2015; Dorset Targeted Mental Health Schools, 2010; Litten, 2012; Russell, 2011) and has major methodological limitations (Burton et al., 2010; Butcher et al., 2013; Hardman, 2011; Mann & Russell, 2011) which raise questions around the reliability and validity of their findings. Very little of the current research has been conducted from CYP's perspectives. Therefore, this study attempts to cover this gap. The purpose of this study is to understand the CYP's perspectives of the intervention following their participation in the programme. The aim of the research is to explore how and why the ELSA intervention may lead to change. In other words, the proposed research attempts to explain what works for children, in what context, with what outcomes. 8 children (key stage two) were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. Strauss and Corbin's 1998 Critical Realist Grounded Theory (GT) was applied to analyse the data. The emerging theory summarises 4 overarching themes including 1) the structure of the ELSA, 2) child-centred sessions 3) the impact of the ELSA on CYP's learning, and SEMH and 4) rationale why ELSA intervention helps. CYP identified activities that they found most helpful, gave views on how the ELSA could have been different and how and why the ELSA intervention led to positive changes for them. These findings informed the development of the suggested theory namely "The Uniqueness of the ELSA approach makes the difference in children's lives". Professional implications of these findings and future research, in light of methodological limitations, are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology awarded by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in association with the University of Essex
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology
Subjects: Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Behaviour Disorders
Learning & Education > Educational Psychology
Research, Tests, Assessments > Grounded Theory
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2150

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