Measuring outcomes for children using disability services: A survey for carers

Background

The aim of this research was to adapt an outcomes survey that was originally designed for adults so that it can be used by carers of children/ young people with disability. It is a whole-of-life/ whole-of-person survey that was designed to measure the impact that services and supports have on the lives of children and young people with disability (aged 0-14 years).

What did we do?

We spoke to 21 carers of children with disability in focus groups and interviewed 10 staff members who have experience working with children and young people with disability. We showed them a revised version of the adult survey and asked them for feedback about how to make it relevant for children and young people.

Based on the results of the focus groups and interviews, we made changes to the survey. Then, 215 carers of children and young people across Australia completed the adapted survey online and answered some questions about it. Twelve disability professionals also completed a survey about the usefulness and relevancy of the survey.

Results

Carers and disability professionals reported that the life areas included in the survey were relevant to a child’s life and likely to be impacted by disability services. The life areas were: physical wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, social life, family life, everyday life, recreational and leisure life, educational life, spiritual or religious life and your environment.

Carers and disability professionals stated that the survey was useful and relevant. The majority of respondents reported that disability service providers could use the survey with minimal burden on staff and customers. Some carers may, however, need help to complete it.

Some of the results from the focus groups and interviews indicated that ‘spiritual and religious life’ may be irrelevant to the life of a child, potentially misunderstood by carers, or irrelevant to service outcomes.

However, based on the large-scale completion of the survey by carers, there was enough evidence to keep ‘spiritual and religious life’ item in the survey.

What are the implications?

As a result of this research:

  • Disability service providers will have access to an evidence-based survey that can be used to assess outcomes for children and young people with disability.
  • Service providers can use information about outcomes to inform service delivery.
  • Carers can use the information from the survey they complete to assess the effectiveness of a service or support.

Who can I contact for more information?

For more information, contact:

research@scopeaust.org.au