Sarah Helton

Research project: How to ‘talk' about death, bereavement and grief with children/young people with intellectual disabilities - with particular reference to those who are non and pre-verbal. (Can the use of AT/AAC techniques and resources support this?)

Abstract

Project Summary

This project aims to help bring about equality in bereavement support. Society is becoming increasingly better equipped to talk about the issues of death, bereavement and grief, and provide resources and support to bereaved individuals. However, individuals with ID (including children/young people) are rarely seen as grievers and therefore lack adequate support. This project seeks to rectify this.

Aims Of The Project

Determine the best ways to ‘talk' about death, bereavement and grief with children/young people with ID.Understand the barriers to children/young people with ID receiving bereavement support.Investigate the level and type of training that staff working with bereaved children/young people with ID require.Research the best methods to ‘talk' about death, bereavement and grief with children/young people with intellectual disabilities.

_____

*AT = Assistive Technology*AAC = Augmentative and Alternative Communication

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: How to ‘talk' about death, bereavement and grief with children/young people with intellectual disabilities - with particular reference to those who are non and pre-verbal. (Can the use of AT/AAC techniques and resources support this?)
  • Research supervisor: Professor Irene Tuffrey-Wijne
  • Other research supervisor: Professor Jayne Price

Biography

I have worked in the Special Educational Needs/Disabilities (SEND) field for 25 years (Deputy Head, Assistant Head, Teacher, Local Authority Education Officer & Educational Publisher).

I am now an author, trainer & consultant in child bereavement, specialising in the needs of bereaved children with SEND. I carry out this work as BackPocketTeacher www.backpocketteacher.co.uk

I have written/designed the following books & resources -

  • A Special Kind of Grief - The complete guide for supporting bereavement & loss in special schools (& other SEND settings)
  • Remembering Lucy - A children's story book about loss & grief in a special school
  • A Jumble of Knotted Thoughts - A sensory story to support bereavement and grief
  • Bereavement & Loss Widgit Symbol Resources
  • We All Grieve (for Winston's Wish)
  • Good Grief Toys ® A set of 45 multi-functional wooden pieces allowing children to explore all forms of grief

Areas of research interest

  • Special Educational Needs/Disabilities - SEND
  • Death, Bereavement and Grief
  • Children and young people with SEND
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Supporting individuals with SEND to have a voice and be listened
  • Profound and multiple learning disabilities - PMLD
  • Children with life limiting and life threatening conditions

Qualifications

  • BEd Primary Education - Plymouth University
  • MEd Special Education - Auburn University, USA

Funding or awards received

  • Full Studentship

Publications

  • A Special Kind of Grief - The complete guide for supporting bereavement and loss in special schools (& other SEND settings)
  • Remembering Lucy - A children's story book about loss and grief in a special school
  • A Jumble of Knotted Thoughts - A sensory story to support bereavement and grief
  • We All Grieve - A booklet that I wrote for the child bereavement charity Winston's Wish
  • Good Grief Toys ® A set of 45 multi-functional wooden pieces allowing children to explore all forms of grief

All available here - www.backpocketteacher.co.uk/shop

I have written for various journals and articles. You can find links to these articles here - www.backpocketteacher.co.uk/support