McMurdo, Kate

McMurdo,  Kate
Start date:
October 2021
Research Topic:
Falling through the gaps - Analysing the human rights framework as it relates to learning disabled and neurodivergent children and young poeple in Wales and how effectively it is delivered, within the context of the devolved legislative framework of Wales
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof Simon Hoffman
Supervising school:
Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law,
Primary funding source:

The literature review is to analyse the human rights framework, specifically that delivered through a comnination of the UNCRC and the UNCRPD, as it relates to learning-disabled and/or neurodivergent children and young people, within the context of four key areas and how they should be realisable in practice within those key areas. The areas identified form part of the devolved competencies of the Welsh governement and include: education, health, social services, as well as in wider access and participation in society. The next part of the literature review seeks to understand the legislative and policy framework in Wales, that should, if delivering on the obligations set out in the Conventions, enable those rights to be realised.

Following on from the literature review, two phases of research will be conducted: phase 1 – face to face interviews with stakeholders at the law, policy and practice levels of the Welsh Governement as well as at a local level with two local authorities. Interviewees during phase 1 would include policy makers who perhaps worked on the Autism Bill and the Children’s Commissioner as someone who holds the government to account. The head of disability teams within two local authorities and in two Healthboards would also be interviewed during this phase.

Phase II would then focus on the lived experiences of learning-disabled and autistic children and young poeple and their parent-carers. Interviews would be conducted using adapted methods where necessary, with parent-carers and their learning-disabled and/or autistic children and young poeple up to the age of 25, to undertand how they are experiencing human rights within those four areas. A thematic analyses will be carried out on the data from both phase I and phase II. Gaps between what is offered up by way of the UNCRC and the UNCRPD and what is then delivered through law policy and practice and experienced by these children and young people and their parent-carers, will be analysed, providing scope for further work in a future project on how to deliver more effectively on human rights obligations for this particularly vulnerable group and where to plug any gaps.