The use of the Solihull Approach with children with complex neurodevelopmental difficulties and sleep problems: a case study

Authors

  • Laura Williams,

    1. The Specialist Neurodevelopmental Team, Islington Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (Whittington Health, NHS), Northern Health Centre, London, UK
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  • Reetta Newell

    1. The Specialist Neurodevelopmental Team, Islington Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (Whittington Health, NHS), Northern Health Centre, London, UK
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Abstract

Accessible summary

  • A lot of children have trouble sleeping, especially children with disabilities.
  • Sometimes sleeping does not get better with advice about behaviour or medicine alone.
  • We helped a mother, who has a little girl with problems sleeping, to think about her worries and their relationship, before offering advice.
  • People can use the same steps to help other children who are not sleeping well. We think it might even work for problems like not eating and not doing as you are told.

Summary

The following article introduces the Solihull Approach, a structured framework for intervention work with families (Douglas, Solihull resource pack; the first five years. Cambridge: Jill Rogers Associates, 2001) and aims to demonstrate the usefulness of this approach in working with school-age children with complex neurodevelopmental difficulties in a community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) setting. More specifically, it aims to show the efficacy of this approach in intervening with sleep problems, which are prevalent amongst children with learning disabilities. The authors hope to achieve these aims through the use of the qualitative case study method, which allows for a rich account of the intervention and therefore facilitates a detailed understanding of the psychological phenomena and processes involved in the approach (Dallos & Smith, Clin Psychol Forum 2008; 182, 18). The three theoretical concepts central to the Solihull Approach – containment, reciprocity and behaviour management – are used to describe the intervention, which resulted in a positive outcome. Implications for clinical practice and future research directions are discussed.

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