Personal statement:

“Developing the Project KIDS translational research methodology has been my most significant research contribution to date. This methodology makes it uniquely possible to collect comprehensive neurodevelopmental data on children with a range of vulnerabilities and challenges who are usually highly sensitised to being tested. Project KIDS is built around core principles of child-centric research which attends to the experience of the child participants as a critical factor in planning the way data is collected. This is a completely different framework than the tradition of one on one testing with an unfamiliar adult, which can be experienced as very stressful by children, particularly those who have a long history of medical assessment and interventions.

This project remains unique in its ‘whole of child’ approach. We collect an unrivalled depth and breadth of data in in a manner that does not compromise the positivity of the child’s experience. In addition to working with typically developing children, we have successfully applied this method to work with children with neurological conditions, complex mental health presentations, educational challenges, medical issues (eg Type 1 Diabetes) and children born extremely low birthweight. Understanding the neurodevelopmental footprint of each condition is proving instrumental in re-orienting treatment options. This methodology has positioned us uniquely in the field of translational paediatric neuroscience. In the past year I secured a grant to include a cognitive intervention trial based on emerging understanding of brain plasticity. Initial follow up results look very promising.

In undertaking this work, we have been very fortunate to work with more than 2500 families and with very talented collaborators from major paediatric researchers and service providers in Perth, interstate and overseas. Since 1995 we have also provided training places for more than 100 clinical and research students. Some of these talented trainees have returned after graduation to become part of our staff team.

I hope that you will join us in our work”.