Tizard Research Projects

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Research projects archive

Sensory needs and autistic adults

Project group: Jill Bradshaw (PI), Damian Milton, Jane Pringle and Julie Beadle-Brown

Funded by: John and Lorna Wing Foundation

Project aims: Many autistic adults have sensory needs. Little is known about these sensory needs and whether these needs are met.
The researchers worked with autistic advisors, paid supporters, family-carers and professionals. An observational study was planned but this was not possible due to Covid-19.

An online survey was completed by 130 autistic adults and by family-carers or paid supporters of 58 autistic adults who also had intellectual disabilities.

All but one participant identified some sensory needs with many having at least 20 issues. Autistic adults who had intellectual disabilities had fewer reported sensory issues and more than one fifth of informants did not know whether the person had a sensory need in that area.
There were significant differences between autistic people who did and did not have intellectual disabilities in three quarters of the items. Autistic adults who did not have additional intellectual disabilities were more likely to report an item as being an issue and were less likely to get their sensory needs met, particularly when reporting about a work environment. Sensory issues in autistic adults who have intellectual disabilities may not be recognised. Many autistic people do not get their sensory needs met even at home. Further research is needed.

Contact: Jane Pringle – J.M.Pringle@kent.ac.uk

The New Normal

Project group: Dr Nick Gore and Dr Jill Bradshaw with the Challenging Behaviour Foundation

Project aims: A project to explore the experiences and views of family caregivers supporting a relative with severe learning disabilities and behaviour described as challenging during the COIVID period

Contact: N.J.Gore@Kent.ac.uk

Seldom Heard

Project group: Challenging Behaviour Foundation (PI), Jill Bradshaw, Nick Gore (Co-I) and Steve Carnaby (Researcher)

Funded by: NHS England

Project aims: We all need to be more creative to make sure we try to involve everyone, especially about decisions that make a difference to peoples’ lives. This includes people who might not have their views and preferences considered, for example children and adults with severe learning disabilities or profound multiple learning disabilities.

The Challenging Behaviour Foundation and the Tizard Centre have been working on new and creative ways to improve how we listen, supported by an advisory group which includes family carers, providers, Mencap and PMLD Link.

Children and adults who take part will benefit by:

  • Having their views heard by NHS England via a report
  • Getting a personalised tool with ideas about how best to gain their views and support better communication, choice and control, which can be used by families and caregivers to make sure their views and preferences are taken into account in the future
  • Helping to show how everyone’s views and preferences can be heard
  • Helping influence how the NHS delivers support to people with learning disabilities and autistic people
  • Influencing better support and services are designed that truly meet the person’s needs and preferences.

Contact: Jill Bradshaw – j.bradshaw@kent.ac.uk

Project report due: Summer 2021

The Sharland Foundation Developmental Disabilities ABA research and impact network (SF-DDARIN)

Project management group includes: Dr Peter Baker, Dr Nick Gore plus members from other collaborative centres
Network members: Professor Peter McGill, Dr Ciara Padden, Serena Tomlinson
Research team member: Viki Stafford

The Love Project

Research team: Michelle McCarthy (PI), Rachel Forrester-Jones, Claire Bates, Karen Milne-Skillman, Nicola Elson

The EAST study

Research Team: Dr Ciara Padden, Dr Peter Baker, Professor Rachel Forrester-Jones and Gillian Eaglestone

Mapping and understanding exclusion

Research Team: Prof Julie Beadle-Brown, Dr Agnes Turnpenny and Gabor Petri

The mATCH Study

Research team: Dr Peter Langdon and Dr Magali Barnoux


Research Team: Dr Nick Gore funded by the Patricia Collen Fellowship, Prof Peter McGill, Serena Brady and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation


Funding has been awarded by SSCR (School for Social Care Research) for Professor Glynis Murphy to carry out the project for two years, working collaboratively with Dr Rachel Forrester-Jones and Dr Nick Gore, and with various NHS and prison sites across England. Professor Jenny Beecham will be assisting with the health economics. The research workers on the project include Pak Chiu, Emily Blake, Magali Barnoux and Jenny Cooke.

Domestic Violence

Funding was awarded by SSCR (School for Social Care Research) for Dr Michelle McCarthy to carry out the project for two years (2012- 2014).  The research workers on the project were Siobhan Hunt and Karen Milne-Skillman. Professor Glynis Murphy gave advice, particularly on statistical analysis of the survey. Ethical approval was granted by SCREC (Social Care Research Ethics Committee) Ref. No. 12/IEC08/0028

Costs and outcomes of skilled support for adults with complex needs in supported accommodation

Research Team: Dr Julie Beadle-Brown, Dr Jennifer Leigh, Beckie Whelton, Lisa Richardson, Prof Jennifer Beecham, T. Baumker and Dr Jill Bradshaw

Uncovering the staff culture of good quality supported accommodation for people with intellectual disabilities

Research Team: Dr Julie Beadle-Brown, Dr Jill Bradshaw, Christine Bigby (La Trobe University, Australia) and Lisa Richardson.

Preventing challenging behaviour of adults with complex needs in supported accommodation

Research Team: Prof Peter McGill, Leah Vanono, Will Clover, Emmett Smyth, Vivien Cooper, OBE, Lisa Hopkins, Nick Barratt, Christopher Joyce, Kate Henderson, Susy Davis & Roy Deveau

Feasibility study of Keep Safe Group CBT for young people with intellectual disabilities and harmful sexual behaviour

Research Team: Prof Glynis Murphy, Dr Rowena Rossiter and Aida Malovic

Teaching staff

Research team: Dr Ciara Padden and Lucy Brady

Transition to adult social care from residential educational settings

Research team: Prof Peter McGill, Dr Nick Gore, Serena Brady and Nicola Elson

Deinstitutionalisation and community living: outcomes and costs

Research team:  Prof Julie Beadle-Brown, Emeritus Prof Jim Mansell, Prof Martin Knapp and Prof Jennifer Beecham

Evaluating the impact of communication passports for people with Intellectual and Developme

ntal Disabilities (IDD) living in adult social care

Research team: Dr Jill Bradshaw

The social care needs of adults with Tourette’s syndrome: an exploratory study

Research team: Dr Paraskevi Triantafyllopoulou, Dr Melina Malli, Prof Rachel Forrester-Jones (University of Bath)

Investigating adaptive and maladaptive behaviour in people with Wolf Hirschhorn syndrome

Summary and full report

Services for people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour or mental health needs

Full report

Developing better commissioning for individuals with behaviour that challenges services

Summary and full report

As the last resort: reducing the use of restrictive physical interventions


Evaluation of early intervention in autism: a pilot study


Children and young people with severe learning disabilities and seriously challenging behaviour


This study looked at those children attending 52-week residential schools: their parents’ perceptions of the services received and expectations of the future.

Exploring the incidence, risk factors, nature and monitoring of adult protection alerts

Summary and full report

Symptoms of abuse in adults with severe learning disabilities

Final report to the Department of Health

The effectiveness of group cognitive behavioural treatment for men with ld at risk of sexual offending

Final Report to the Department of Health

Care standards in homes for people with intellectual disabilities

Summary and full report

Too far to go? People with learning disabilities placed out of the area

Summary and full report

Deinstitutionalisation and community living: outcomes and costs

Executive summary
Full Report
Country reports (601 pages)

Included in society: results and recommendations

Results and recommendations of the European Research Initiative on community-based residential alternatives for disabled people

Exercising choice and control: women with learning disabilities and their reproductive health care needs


GP attitudes towards early diagnosis of dementia: evidence of improvements


Ballet burst: an intervention study to improve the health and fitness of people with intellectual disabilities


Evaluation of Mindfulness training