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The model and framework that explain our impact

Theory of Change and Child Voice model:
Underlying the Impact of our Programs

1. Our Theory of Change 

These illustrations describe our leverage points in the system. For more detail on the Theory of Change categories click plumtree-learning-impact ... or point your camera at the QR code! 

2. The Child Voice model 

The model describes how parents and children can practice new roles and responsibilities that evolve with each stage of life. The model is child- and youth-lead. It starts with the end in mind: educate children to optimize their independence. It is crucial that parents start as early as possible to coach children in the art of making choices and taking decisions, and what this entails as they mature.

When children are very young, parents coach them through ideas and situations that are familiar to them – from choosing their clothes to buying chips in the neighbourhood cafĂ© - to gradually increasing complexity and alternatives.

3. Our impact

Over the past 6 years, we have developed (see illustration below) a network of more than 2,200 families, educators, researchers, and professionals in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Finland, committed to supporting positive functioning for children with disabilities and their families. This network has formed from Now and Next, a peer-led, strengths-based program that fosters empowerment, agency, and wellbeing for families of children with disabilities. The program draws on a systems informed positive psychology perspective (Kern et al., 2020); has been developed in partnership with parents/carers, support professionals, and educators; is informed by a transformative theory of change; and has been successfully delivered across multiple cultures, linguistic, and socio-economic backgrounds.

Evaluations of our approach have shown positive impacts on families, children and youth, educators, and professionals, including:

  • Participants using strengths-based language to continue learning from and interacting with other families as their child grows;
  • High levels of engagement from participants of diverse backgrounds;
  • Increases in families’ sense of empowerment, agency, and wellbeing;
  • High levels of children’s goal achievement;
  • Growth in engagement across the network, with high involvement in online and face-to-face training programs, parent-led conferences, and online resources.

Our research tools

Researcher colleagues often ask us for the references of the survey tools that we recommend to measure intervention impact in peer support groups... here are 3 of our favourites:

1. Wellbeing PERMAH tool- #psychologicalwellbeing

Reference: Butler, J., & Kern, M. L. (2016). The PERMA-Profiler: A brief multidimensional measure of flourishing. International Journal of Wellbeing, 6(3). Tool: https://lnkd.in/gJ3Ypwvj

The PERMAH profiler is a 23-item measure specifically designed to assess PERMA (positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment). The Profiler also includes items capturing negative emotions, physical health, loneliness, and overall wellbeing.

2. Psychological Empowerment Scale (PES) For families of children with disabilities #PsychologicalEmpowerment

Reference: Akey, T. M. ,Marquis, J. G., Ross, M. E. (2000).Validation of scores on the psychological empowerment scale: A measure of empowerment for parents of children with a disability. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 60(3), 419-438. Tool: https://lnkd.in/gwcG72_Y

Questions ask about feeling isolated from other parents, feeling a sense of community with other parents of children with disabilities, emotional support by other parents, and that there are other parents that can be counted for help when needed. Community support scores range from 0 (unsupported) to 10 (well supported).

3. Hope: Adult Hope Scale (AHS) tool- #hope
Reference: Snyder, C. R., Harris, C., Anderson, J. R., Holleran, S. A., Irving, L. M., Sigmon, S. T., et al.(1991). The will and the ways: Development and validation of an individual-differences measure of hope. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 570-585. Tool: https://lnkd.in/gigD6ceA

The AHS includes 12 items that assess pathways (planning to meet goals), agency (goal-directed energy), and overall hope. Items are measured on a scale from 0 (definitely false) to 8 (definitely true). Higher scores indicate higher levels of pathways, agency, and hope.

4. Partners in Change Outcome Measures (PCOM)

Reference: Duncan, B. & Reese, R.J. (2015). The Partners for Change Outcome Management System: The client’s frame of reference revisited. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 52, 391–401. #2022virtualpeersupport

5. Cantril's Ladder for Life satisfaction
Reference: Cantril, H. (1965). The pattern of human concerns. Rutgers University Press.

Life satisfaction items capture community support, optimism, coping, feelings of struggle, competence, and confidence in supporting one’s own and others’ wellbeing. All items are measured on a scale from 0 (not at all) to 10 (completely). In most cases, higher scores indicate higher levels of wellbeing. Low scores on Negative emotions, loneliness, and struggle items indicate a higher level of wellbeing.
6. Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification (Vol. 1). Oxford University Press.