Research Project Information 

Dear Parents, 

I would like to invite you to take part in my research project on; An Evaluation of the National Autistic Society (NAS) EarlyBird Programme in an Irish Context from the Perspectives of Clinicians and Parents.

What is the project about? 
This research aims to evaluate the widely used NAS EarlyBird programme designed for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) within an Irish context. It will explore whether or not the EarlyBird programme, as implemented in Ireland, is regarded as an effective evidence-based early intervention-parenting programme. 

Who is undertaking it?
My name is Kate Hughes and I'm a qualified Educational Psychologist. I'm currently completing a Post Qualification Doctorate in Educational Psychology in University College Dublin, under the supervision of Dr William Kinsella. This study will form part of my thesis.

What are the benefits of this research?
It is hoped that the information gathered from participants will enhance our understanding of the NAS EarlyBird programme in an Irish context. It will explore whether the NAS EarlyBird programme is deemed effective by clinicians, who deliver the programme; and parents, who attend the programme. This may contribute to further direction, development, and delivery of the EarlyBird programme across Ireland.

Potential sample
The NAS has given approval for this study and they have provided a contact list of all the clinicians trained in the EarlyBird programme in Ireland. Some of these clinicians may have delivered your NAS EarlyBird programme. Parents will be approached separately via autism forums and parent support groups. 

Exactly what is involved for the participants
The parent questionnaire will take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Participants will be given the option to partake in an interview at a later date, if they so wish, by contacting the researcher or by leaving their contact details at the end of this questionnaire. 

Right to withdraw
Potential participants have the right not to participate in the study without giving a reason and without consequence. Participants have the right to withdraw up to the submission of the questionnaire. Non-participation at any stage will have no impact on parents’ current or future access to services.

How will the information be used?
The data from the questionnaires and interviews will be combined with that of other participants in this study and used to form the results section. Summary data only will appear in thesis, while individual participant data will not be reported. A summary of the findings will be sent to the NAS. No service providers or participants will be identifiable in this research. This research may be used for presentations at conferences or for publishing in psychology journals.

How will confidentiality be assured?
All information gathered will remain confidential and will not be released to any third party. A random ID number will be generated for each participant and it is this number that will be held with their data to maintain their anonymity. All research data will be stored for the duration of the project, plus an additional two years. 
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