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Paediatric Speech and Language Therapist Elaine Duddy graduated on Monday 8th July with a PhD from Ulster University.

Elaine’s research entitled 'Parent Participation in Early Years settings in Northern Ireland: Implications for Policy and Practice' examined parental experience of participation in these settings in Northern Ireland. Early Years services aim to make sure children and their families can access high quality childcare and early education to achieve the best outcomes in life and are widely available across the public, private and voluntary sectors in Northern Ireland. As a consequence of this study, Elaine developed a process model for the implementation of ‘parent participation’ in a service context.

This model is transferable across a range of service contexts and Elaine is working to apply it in her current role as an Allied Health Professional Advanced Practitioner in Research and Development in the Northern Health & Social Care Trust.

Elaine was invited to present her research findings at the European Early Childhood Education Research conference in Hungary in 2018 and the first paper from her study is due for publication in the European Early Childhood Education Research Journal in autumn 2019.

Speaking about her experience Elaine commented:

“Given my considerable clinical experience working with parents as part of the therapeutic process, my study aimed to bridge the gap between service providers and parents/service users. My research provided the opportunity to challenge current NI early years education policy and develop a framework that encourages effective service user participation. Studying a PhD at Ulster University has provided the perfect opportunity to align my previous career experience with the Ulster University facilitated researcher training in order to facilitate the development of future NHS AHP researchers as part of my current role.”

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