The Tizard Centre

News and Events Archive


New training materials on autism to be published

Over the past three years Julie Beadle-Brown has been working with the National Autistic Society to evaluate the training they deliver to their staff and to external agencies with the view to jointly producing new materials that are publicly available. The materials are now available through Pavilion Publishing. A programme of training for trainers and licensing will be established for those who want to be a trainer. This will be managed jointly with the NAS and information will be posted on our website as soon as possible. We anticipate that training for trainers will be run 3-4 times a year initially in different regions of the UK. For further information see our Autism training pages.

In addition those who complete the pack will be able to apply to one to two short assignments to gain credits at certificate level on the undergraduate programmes in autism studies.


Launch of the Living in Fear project

This project focusing on hate crime will be officially launched on Monday 15th November 2010 at Medway Police Station. Further information on the project can be found on the autism london website.


SSCR report now published

The School for Social Care Research, of which the Centre is a founding member, has just published its first annual report.


New report for Department of Health

A new report by Professor Jim Mansell has been published by the Department of Health. Called 'Raising our sights', it is a review of services for adults with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities. It recommends continuing the move towards personalising services for people with intellectual disabilities and identifies a number of specific policy obstacles which Government should address. The report is available from the Department of Health website and can also be downloaded here. View the accompanying video here.


New report on Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome from researchers at the Tizard Centre

Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome (WHS) is a rare genetic syndrome which is associated with intellectual disability and a range of physical health problems. The Wolf Hirschhorn Syndrome Trust, a UK based family-led charity ( funded Peter McGill and Paul Langthorne to conduct a survey of families throughout the UK.  The just published report includes new information on the behavioural profile associated with WHS and identifies a possible relationship between the challenging behaviour they sometimes display and physical health issues. The report also identifies that many children and adults with WHS have relatively good social skills and suggests building on this strength to encourage development in other areas.Further information


Tizard Centre to work on Big Lottery-funded project on hate crime against people with autism and learning disabilities

The Tizard Centre will support Autism London on a major new project that aims to provide a better understanding of hate crimes and victimisation against people with autism and learning disabilities. Julie Beadle-Brown will lead the work at the Tizard Centre, working closely with colleagues in Autism London and Kent Police.

The Medway-based project has received almost £350,000 funding from the Big Lottery Research Programme and will run for three years. More than 500 individuals and 20 organisations are expected to benefit.

The Centre’s role was announced during the launch event at Mid-Kent College on 4 December. Among those attending the event were: Jonathan Shaw, MP for Chatham and Aylesford and Minister for Disabled People (South East); Jacky Hammond, Area Director, Autism London; Kathy Johnson co chair Valuing Medway People Partnership Board; Peter Thompson, Managing Director MCCH and a member of Autism London board; Bob Hodges, Head of Foundation Studies at Mid Kent College; Colin Guest, Forum Facilitator and Professor Jim Mansell, Director of the Tizard centre.

Titled “Living In Fear: Promoting Better Outcomes for People with Disabilities”, the project will use local focus groups, web and telephone based national surveys to research into the nature of hate crime, responses and barriers to reporting. The aim will be to identify what happens to victims, addressing gaps in our knowledge of how crime against people with autism and learning disabilities is recorded and responded to by community safety agencies, including the police. The project will promote greater safety and wellbeing within the community, providing an evidence base to enable policy makers to improve the support and services on offer to people with autism and learning disabilities.

It will be led by Autism London, working in partnership with the Tizard Centre and will be steered by people with autism and learning disability as well as working in consultation with other stakeholders - Medway’s Leadership Forum for adults with learning disabilities, Community Safety Partnership, Kent Police, Mid Kent College, the Valuing Medway People Partnership Board and MCCH’s Pathways to Inclusion project.


"The Challenge - getting a Break" - new report on short breaks by the Tizard Centre and the Challenging Behaviour Foundation

The report results from collaboration between the Challenging Behaviour Foundation and Tizard’s Peter McGill. Over 300 families responded to a survey of their experiences of short breaks. Many families reported their son/daughter being denied, or excluded from, short breaks.  Inevitably this increases the pressure on families and may contribute to family breakdown or pressure for long-term residential placement. Where families were receiving short breaks they were frequently regarded as being insufficient for the family’s needs. Short breaks were also criticised for often being unsuitable for the individual. In particular, families felt that staff lacked training/understanding of challenging behaviour, staff turnover was too high and activities were sometimes unsuitable. The Challenging Behaviour Foundation regards short breaks as a key resource for the families it supports. The Foundation will use the results of the survey to campaign for widespread improvements in short break provision.

More information


Tizard Centre to play a key role in implementing new Department of Health employment strategy

Nick Gore, Rachel Forrester-Jones and Peter McGill are currently working in collaboration with the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, The Regional Valuing People Team (South-East), Kent County Council and others to enhance pathways of supported employment for people with complex needs. The demonstration project has been highlighted in The Department of Health Employment Strategy (Valuing Employment Now), and will seek to develop a resource hub to support people with complex needs and behaviour described as challenging into employment.  It will draw on high quality supported employment techniques including customised employment and evaluate process issues and outcomes over a five-year period. The aim is for the first person to be supported into work by early 2010. 


Tizard senior lecturer appointed to the Standing Commission on Carers

Alisoun Milne, Senior Lecturer in Social Gerontology at the Tizard Centre, has been appointed to the Standing Commission on Carers. Alisoun and the other appointed members of the Commission, led by Dame Phillippa Russell, will, among other things, work. to support Ministers in the final revisions of the Prime Minister's Strategy on Carers. Further information on the work of the Standing Commission can be found on the Department of Health website.


New project on the situation of people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) in Kent.

Researchers at the Tizard Centre are currently working with Kent County Council to estimate the number of people with people with intellectual and multiple disabilities in Kent and to explore where they are living and the types of services they are accessing. The project will also explore some of the issues and barriers to personalised services for this often marginalised group of people. The work is being led by Prof Jim Mansell and Dr Julie Beadle-Brown and is following on from the work Professor Mansell is doing for the Department of Health looking at the situation for people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities more generally.


Tizard Centre becomes part of new national School of Social Care Research

The Tizard Centre is one of six groups to be appointed intramural members of the new national School of Social Care Research. The School has been set up to improve the quality of research and also to develop research capacity in social care. There has been a national competition to select 'intramural members' who form the core of the School. Only six teams have been successful and they are PSSRU Kent, LSE, Manchester, SPRU York, SCWRU KCL and Tizard at Kent. With a budget of £15 million over the next five years, the School will both commission and carry out research in the field, working with a wider group of 'extramural' researchers.

Professor Jim Mansell, Director of the Tizard Centre, commented:  ‘We need more and better research about what really makes a difference to the lives of people who need social care. I welcome this important new initiative and am delighted to part of it.’


Making a difference for people with intellectual disabilities - Tizard involvement in the National Strategy Group on Challenging Behaviour

Peter McGill is playing a key role in a new National Strategy Group (NSG) on Challenging Behaviour. The Group was launched near the end of 2008 by the Challenging Behaviour Foundation with the support  of the Valuing People Team. It has brought together key people from all over the UK and seeks to coordinate the development of a national strategy which will ensure that people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour receive appropriate, local, high quality provision. At the moment too many people spend their lives in poor quality, out of area provision. Peter is a member of the steering group for the NSG. At the first meeting of the Group in November 2008 he spoke about the failure of local provision for children, resulting in some 3000 children and young people being placed in residential schools or residential care often far from their family homes. At the second meeting, in April 2009, he led a discussion about the role of local authority and health commissioners. The Group is developing a Charter that makes clear the kinds of supports and services that should be available in every area for children or adults with challenging behaviour and their carers.


Seminar attracts care providers

A seminar organised by the Kent Challenging Behaviour Network to discuss 'person-centred active support' - a method of training care staff to enable people with severe and profound intellectual disabilities to have more independence and choice - attracted a large turnout. In total there were 94 delegates from 37 different organisations, mostly from Kent but including participants from as far away as Leicester. Troy Jones, organiser of the seminar and a student in the Tizard Centre, said "Feedback on the day was brilliant, people were definitely enthused. One said the day was 'informative and interesting and hopefully we can spread the word'  Let’s hope they do."

Many organising providing supported accommodation for people with intellectual disabilities use training materials developed at the Tizard Centre to teach their staff to use person-centred active support. Research at the Centre and elsewhere has shown that this approach can make dramatic improvements to the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities - especially people with more severe disabilities and complex needs.

Dr Julie Beadle-Brown, Senior Lecturer in Learning Disability, who developed the training materials with Professor Jim Mansell and who presented at the seminar, said "We are now working in partnership with over a dozen organisations putting this work into practice. It is a great example of how our teaching, research and consultancy has a direct impact in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities."


Association of Commonwealth Universities and British Academy grant for project on person-centred active support and practice leadership

As part of the continuing collaboration between Tizard Centre and La Trobe University, Dr Julie Beadle-Brown has been awarded a travel grant from the Association of Commonwealth Universities and British Academy to travel to Australia to train observers to collect data in intellectual disability services in Victoria. This travel grant complements a faculty grant awarded to Prof Chris Bigby at La Trobe University for a pilot study exploring the implementation of person-centred active support in services in Victoria. Collaboration with local organisations is an essential part of this project.


New Australian grant to investigate staffed housing for people with intellectual disabilities

The Australian Research Council has given AU$308,000 to a team of researchers from La Trobe University, Melbourne (Prof Chris Bigby and Dr Tim Clement), Queensland University of Technology (Dr Marie Knox) and the Tizard Centre (Prof Jim Mansell and Dr Julie Beadle-Brown) to investigate the quality of staff support provided to people with intellectual disabilities living in group homes in Australia. The research will combine qualitative methods based on previous work by the Australian group with quantitative observational methods developed at the Tizard Centre. The project is the latest phase in a long-term collaboration between academics at La Trobe and the Tizard Centre working with service providers in Victoria to improve services for people with intellectual disabilities.


Tizard Centre contributes to assessing mental health needs of older people

Alisoun Milne, Senior Lecturer in Social Gerontology at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent, has made a significant contribution to an online guide that offers quick and easy access to knowledge about working with older people with mental health needs.

Commissioned by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and titled Assessing the mental health needs of older people, the guide offers quick and easy access to practice knowledge and includes key research findings, ideas from practice, details of relevant legislation, guidance and standards, case studies and links to further information.

Alisoun Milne said: 'The guide is designed for practitioners working with older people in non-specialist settings who need accessible and accurate information and knowledge about mental health in later life; it is also intended for use by older people and their carers.'

Section headings are: a framework for well-being; the main problems; the assessment process; meeting needs; carers; black and minority ethnic communities; abuse and law; and policy.

The SCIE intends to build on the Guide by commissioning Alisoun to lead the development of e-learning materials for social care staff; this work is due to begin later in the summer.


Tizard Review relaunched

The Tizard Learning Disability Review, the top professional journal in learning disabilities, has been relaunched with a new look. The first issue is guest-edited by Rob Greig, former Director of Learning Disabilities at the Department of Health. It focuses on government strategy in the four UK countries, the challenge of scaling-up individual budgets, changes in demand for services and includes articles on work and health care. To mark the relaunch, Tizard students and members of the Tizard Practitioners' Network can get the Review for half-price.


Learning Disability Partnership Boards not really sharing power

A new paper by Carol Riddington (PhD student in the Centre), Jim Mansell and Julie Beadle-Brown shows that although Learning Disability Partnership Boards practiced various inclusive activities in order to involve people with learning disabilities, there were limited opportunities for them to be involved in decision-making. Although the nature of people's disabilities made participation harder, the main finding was that, as in other research on citizen-involvement, control remains in the hands of public sector managers. The authors argue that changing this would involve clearer lines of accountability and responsibilities for decision-making, with a monitoring role so that members of the Board could monitor how money on learning disability services was being spent.


Tizard academics link genes and environment in self-injury among children with intellectual disabilities

In a new paper in the American Journal on Mental Retardation, Paul Langthorne (PhD student in the Centre) and Peter McGill (Senior Lecturer in Learning Disability) argue that the investigation of gene-environment interactions could enhance current approaches to the study of self-injury. They provide a conceptual model of the early development of self-injury based explicitly on such relations and discuss its implications for research and assessment, treatment and prevention.


New research grant from National Disability Authority, Ireland

Professor Jim Mansell and Dr Julie Beadle-Brown have been awarded a grant by the National Disability Authority of Ireland to carry out a review of research on dispersed housing with support compared with cluster or campus provision for people with disabilities. This work builds on the Centre's strengths in researching different patterns of resident services for disabled people. It will feed directly into a current review of policy in Ireland.


New handbook by Tizard academics launched in Oslo

A new handbook on campaigning for better services for disabled people, which Agi Kozma and Dr Julie Beadle-Brown from the Tizard Centre played a leading role in researching and writing, was launched this month at the annual seminar of the European Coalition for Community Living in Oslo, Norway. The seminar attracted participants from many different European countries including those where many disabled people are still cared for in institutions. The handbook is based both on previous research in the Centre and elsewhere and draws together examples of good practice from different countries. 

Tizard Centre, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7LR

Telephone: +44(0)1227 827373 or contact us

Last Updated: 10/05/2012