Supporting the wellbeing of children with developmental disorders: getting along with uncertainty

NG08 - Biosciences Building
Monday 12 November 2018 (17:30-19:00)

Dr Kate Woodcock
Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Applied Psychology

Most of us can recall an occasion when an unexpected event made us feel uneasy, and perhaps even caused us to act in a way we wouldn’t usually act.

On more than one occasion, I have left a restaurant without a dessert – usually the highlight of my meal – only because the waiter didn’t tell me that the option I had eventually chosen was not available until after I had already ordered it. However for many children with disorders that affect how the brain develops, such unexpected changes can cause severe anxiety and upset and can often trigger emotional meltdowns (sometimes known as “tantrums”). In this lecture I will discuss work that my team has carried out to understand why unexpected change is so difficult for many children with developmental disorders such as autism, intellectual disability and a number of genetic syndromes. I will also introduce a range of helping strategies that we have already developed or are currently developing. These strategies act at different levels including the brain, behaviour and the environment. However, all are designed specifically to increase children’s skills to manage unexpected change effectively.

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