All of our published articles, in one place.


We are aware that there are many different challenges facing children with disabilities and/or developmental difficulties and their families.

Our research and evaluation work ensures our services are effective, and are often a requirement of our grant funding; funders wish to see detailed evaluations of our unique services and how they are benefiting children and families. Many of our services and how they are delivered are groundbreaking, and other health and social care providers across the UK are keen to learn more about them.

If you would like to participate in our evaluations or support our research activities, please contact our Research and Development Officer on 01633 748024 or by emailing


Improving Social-Emotional and Life Skills of Young People with Complex Additional Needs Through 'Outward Bound' Residential Trips

Sarah Myers, Fiona Elliot, Sabine Maguire & Michelle Barber - 19th July 2021

"Among the estimated 800,000 children in the United Kingdom with disability, challenges include lack of access to leisure activities, opportunities for independent development and social contact. Short breaks and residential trips (RTs) provide positive experiences, and help improve mental and physical wellbeing. However, evaluations involving young people (YP) with disabilities are lacking. We aimed to understand the value and outcomes of a RT, from the perspective of YP, their parents, and staff. YP with disabilities (N = 35) aged 12–17 years, attended outdoor activity based RTs in 2019 provided by Sparkle (South Wales) Ltd. A mixed methods approach was used for data collection; YP attended focus groups (N = 13), and parents (N = 21) and staff (N = 5) completed feedback questionnaires. The data was double coded and analysed thematically. In addition to enjoyment, interview data suggests the participants felt that the YP’s emotional and social wellbeing improved. There were reported improvements in confidence, increased incidences of social communication behaviour, resilience and self-care. RTs have the potential to make a significant impact on YP and their families, and their role is an important consideration in the context of local authority funding cuts, and barriers to accessing short breaks."

"They just get it" - an exploration of father's experiences and perceptions of a support group for men caring for children with disabilities and/or developmental delay

Molly Batchelor, Sabine Maguire & Julia Shearn - 12th October 2020 

"Background - Support groups available to parents/carers of children with a disability or developmental delay (DDD) are predominately attended by women. Limited data exists reporting experiences of the few male-only support groups. This paper examines experiences of fathers of children with DDD attending a male-only support group from South Wales. Method - All fifteen members from a support group for fathers/male carers of children with DDD were invited to take part in qualitative interviews and seven participated. The data were analysed following Braun and Clarke's (Qualitative research in psychology, 2006, 3:77) thematic framework. Results - Within the group, fathers felt understood by similarly situated men, and a sense of connectivity and belonging. Fathers perceived exclusion elsewhere, including mixed-gender groups. Fathers felt permission to talk in a way consistent with their male identities, and valued receiving, and giving, support. Conclusions - Mixed-gender support groups may not meet the needs of fathers, and there are potential benefits in providing male-only groups."