The Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CCND) is headed by Professor Chris Oliver and is based in the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. The research at the Centre is funded by Cerebra with additional support from a number of agencies and charities.
The Centre has recently released its end of grant reports explaining the focus of their work and their achievements for the project period 2014 – 2019:
The mental health of children and young people with neurodevelopmental disorders
Not long ago it was thought that people with the most severe intellectual disability and complex needs did not experience the most common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. This meant that there were no assessments available and so the problems could not be identified even if they were there. The Centre’s research has focused on anxiety, as it is believed to be a common but neglected area.
Children and young people with rare genetic syndromes and intellectual disability
CNDD’s work on the emotion, cognition and behaviour of children and young people with rare genetic syndromes has been at the heart of their research for many years. Their aim is to use research to make information, advice and guidance available to families of children with rare genetic disorders.
Sleep problems in children and young people with neurodevelopmental disorders
Researcher’s experience was that sleep problems were common but neglected and that poor sleep may be related to both daytime behaviour in children and parental wellbeing. The Centre’s research aimed to identify parents’ priorities in this area, work out how to assess the most severe sleep problems in children with complex needs and describe the possible causes of poor sleep.
Self-injurious behaviour in children and young people with neurodevelopmental disorders
Research studied the prediction of future risk for self-injury, and developed and applied a comprehensive clinical assessment method for use in NHS settings for children with severe intellectual disability who are autistic.
Atypical autism in children and young people with neurodevelopmental disorders
The programme of work in this area has been to better describe and understand autism in children with the most complex needs. The aim has been to level the playing field and ensure that all children and their families have the same access to diagnosis and specialist services.
Research findings, information, assessments, and teaching and training materials
A summary of Cerebra funded resources produced by the Centre.
Between 2014 and 2019 the Cerebra Centre for NeuroDevelopmental Disorders have published 85 research papers and over 40 abstracts in peer reviewed scientific journals and have made over 100 presentations at research and clinical conferences in 15 countries. Their work has been published in the leading journals in their field: Nature Reviews Genetics, Lancet Psychiatry, Molecular Autism, PLoS ONE, Sleep, Frontiers in Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews, and the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Their research was cited by other researchers over 4,000 times and on an open source website (Researchgate.net) their research papers were read more than 500 times during December 2019 alone. These academic metrics demonstrate that the work of the Centre informs others in the field and influences the direction of research.
Details of the next phase of research will be announced soon.