Resilience-building with disabled children and young people: A review and critique of the academic evidence base

Peer-reviewed article
(2014 Aug) International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 5 394-422


Hart A, Heaver B, Brunnberg E, Sandberg A, Macpherson H, Coombe S, Kourkoutas E.


The aim of this paper was to review published accounts of resilience-based approaches with and for disabled children and young people aged up to 25 years. The review is part of a broader study looking more generally at resilience-based    interventions with and for young people. The authors attempt to summarise the approaches and techniques that might best support those children and young people who need them the most. However, when compared to the number of evaluated resilience-based approaches to working with typically-developing children and young people, those including children and young people with complex needs are disappointingly lacking. Of 830 retrieved references, 46 were relevant and 23 met the inclusion criteria and form the body of this review. They covered a variety of intervention content, setting, and delivery, and diverse children and young people, making comparative evaluation prohibitive. The difficulties in identifying suitable resilience-based interventions are discussed, together with the authors’ iterative approach, which was informed by realist review methodology for complex social interventions. The review is set into a context of exclusion, an ableist mindset and the political economy of research. It also provides recommendations for future research and practice development in this field.