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Virtual parent coaching programme

Parenting children with disabilities is associated with increased levels of stress and poor mental health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents  face additional and significant daily challenges due to home-schooling, suspension of rehabilitation and therapies, changes to children’s routines, reduction in formal and informal care and the need to shield vulnerable children. 

Consequently, there is an urgent need to research interventions that can be successfully delivered through telehealth (online) to children with disabilities and their families in order to optimise therapy outcomes during the Covid-19 pandemic and meet future demand in new environments post-pandemic.

Parent coaching has received widespread interest recently because of its potential to meet the need for effective online interventions. Parent coaching is a process whereby parents are supported to identify goals for their child and family related to their daily life and are guided to find solutions and strategies that work for them. Parent coaching is strengths-based, collaborative and has growing evidence in reducing parent stress and improving child and parent's occupational performance allowing them to do the things they need and want to do.

The “Coach2Thrive” project will implement a new, innovative pathway that delivers Occupational Performance Coaching (OPC) via telehealth (online) to parents of children with disabilities. The coaching service will be based at the university, free at the point of access and offered to local families. We aim to study how feasible it is to deliver this type of service, parent and therapist’s experiences of the programme and whether the programme helps children and families meet their therapy goals and reduces parent stress.

Coach to Thrive
Coach to Thrive

Virtual coaching sessions available for parents of children with disabilities - Call for participants.

We are seeking parents to take part in a research study exploring whether online parent coaching sessions help children and their families with their day to day activities (e.g. bathing, dressing, hobbies, play, meals, homework) and reduce parent stress.

This study has been approved by the College of Health and Life Sciences Research Ethics Committee. 

Are you eligible to take part?

What will happen?

Interested in taking part?

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Tai Frater
Tai Frater - I am an occupational therapist specialised in work with children, young people and families.  In 2011 I was awarded the Elizabeth Casson Memorial Scholarship to study my MSc at Tufts University in Boston, USA and on my return in 2012 I joined the lecturing team at Brunel University London. I am interested in person and family centred care and enablement approaches including parent coaching, shared decision making and motivational interviewing.  I also have an interest in quality improvement and implementing evidence based practice and in 2016 I was awarded an Improvement Leader Fellowship from the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) Northwest London (NWL).  My fellowship project targeted shared decision making with children acquired brain injury and their families.  In 2019 I was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellowship to explore parent coaching practices in occupational therapy in New Zealand, USA and Canada.  At Brunel I champion active learning strategies that maximise student engagement such as team based learning and digital learning tools.  I am currently co-lead of the BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy programme. Outside of work I have two young children and is often found chasing one or both of them round the nearest woods.  I can be found on twitter as @tai_the_OT 

Related Research Group(s)


Smart Technology Advancements in Health and Rehabilitation - Data science/wearable technology and Rehabilitation; Haptic feedback, multi-sensory interfacing and Robotics in Health; Immersion and Engagement in Virtual Rehabilitation; TeleHealth/TeleRehab; Data: using AI and Machine learning to improve health.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 21/11/2023