The University of Kent and the Tizard Centre is well known for its excellence in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). With its rich history of academic, research and practical implementation of support, it was the perfect match for my academic aspirations. Its focus on promoting deinstitutionalisation and understanding the skills and abilities of individuals with IDD partnered my views and ambitions, and I was eager to be part of its mission.
The course I chose to study allowed me to gain the educational requirements to become a Board-Certified Behaviour Analyst and further my career within my chosen field.
I am particularly interested in system-wide Positive Behaviour Support (PBS). I have worked in the care sector, and with challenging behaviour and complex needs, for over a decade. In that time, I have worked in several capacities within social care. From being a support worker to managing a PBS team, I have first-hand experience of the benefits of working with people who engage in challenging behaviour. I’ve also experienced the negative effects and challenges of working in social care and the huge impact this can have on staff and as a side effect, the supported individual.
During my Master’s I became acutely aware of the limited PBS specialist support that is available to staff teams and services. I was learning about system-wide support and increasing skills and capacity within services. This led me to adapt my support from one-to-one specialist-individual inputs to building capacity within staff teams. My passion grew for building larger scale support systems and placing more of my time and focus on managers, systems and processes around the individual.
I had a fantastic experience studying at the Tizard Centre. Lectures were always interesting and engaging, having a mix of practical and theoretical learning. This really allowed me to put what I had learned in to practice and receive honest and helpful feedback that would shape my knowledge and skills in the field. Lecturers and tutors always had time to offer feedback and provide further advice and support when needed.
My passion has grown for building support for teams within organisations and looking at structural processes and the system-wide implementation of PBS. I have secured a PhD position at the University of Kent, where I will explore organisational approaches to PBS and develop systems and processes to support IDD services.
The Tizard Centre is world-renowned for its drive to make effective practical change for individuals with IDD. The knowledge within the department is immense and I would advise students to actively seek feedback from the experts within the field.