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Research Portfolio

GRANT TITLE:

Co-adapting and evaluating a web-based problem-solving intervention for children aged 9-12 years who have epilepsy

GRANT TYPE:

ENDEAVOUR PROJECT GRANT

grant amount:

£155,584 over 36 months, awarded in 2023

lead investigator:

Associate Professor Anna Adlam

Co-Investigators:

- Dr Jennifer Limond (University of Exeter)
- Professor Shari Wade (University of Cincinnati/Children’s Hospital Medical Center)
- Professor Avani Modi (Cincinnati Children’s Medical Hospital)
- Professor Ingram Wright (University of Bristol)

institution:

University of Exeter

Background

Many children with epilepsy experience difficulties with deploying their ‘thinking skills’, such as problem solving, planning and organising. These are necessary when facing everyday life problems and when going into ‘auto-pilot’ would be unhelpful. These ‘thinking skills’ are known as executive function skills and difficulty in deploying them can affect, amongst other things, a child’s schoolwork and social relationships, which in turn can affect how the child feels about themselves.

The research team has developed a web-based programme that supports children in their learning of problem-solving strategies using videos and activities, aided by a trained facilitator. Their research has shown that when used with children and young people who have poor executive function skills but no epilepsy, the programme has improved those necessary ‘thinking skills’.

The Study

An adapted version of the programme has been developed for teenagers with epilepsy but not yet for younger children (aged 9-12 years). Therefore, this study intends to make the web-based programme more suitable for this younger age group. A PhD student will first look through the wider research literature to find out what might be helpful to include in the web-based programme. The PhD student will then meet with children and young people whose seizures are well-controlled with medication, along with their parents and healthcare professionals, to discuss how best to adapt the existing web-based programme. Children and their parents will then be asked to test the adapted programme and report back on their experiences.

Significance

This project will allow the researchers to ascertain whether the adapted programme is helpful and fit for purpose; whether it can be successfully delivered remotely; and if larger studies could be conducted to work towards the roll out of this programme for children and young people with epilepsy.