The Solihull Approach online tutorial ‘Understanding your child’ was developed by a professional team at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, with resources from Harvard Medical School.

It is aimed at parents, grandparents and carers of children, and seeks to improve their understanding of their child’s development, as well as enhance relationships. It focuses on the link between feelings and behaviours, for both the adult and child.

Public Health Wales is running a pilot of this resource in Arabic, aimed at sanctuary seeking parents (refugees or asylum seekers). The pilot will evaluate the acceptability of both the content and format of the course for sanctuary seeking parents and carers. This is because we recognise the need for parenting support for parents and children who face additional challenges, such as recovery from trauma, language barriers, and adjusting to a new culture. We are working with NHS Heart of England to evaluate the success of this pilot in reaching sanctuary seeking parents and the impact it has on them.

It includes 11 modules on different themes. These apply to children of a range of ages. The main messages include:

  • Brain development, links to behaviour and developmental milestones
  • Recognising a child’s feelings based on their behaviours
  • Impact of parent/carer’s feelings on their behaviours and the subsequent impact on their child’s feelings and behaviours as a consequence
  • A range of parenting styles
  • Communication in challenging situations
  • Play as an important tool for learning, building relationships and expressing feelings
  • Sleep: the importance of teaching the child to be able to get back to sleep themselves, addressing issues from the day which might affect their sleep, and ensuring good sleep routine

We are working with people working directly with people seeking sanctuary, such as third sector organisations and asylum nurses working in the main dispersal centres of Swansea, Newport and Cardiff. We are also in the process of looking at other avenues of disseminating the resource. We are also providing promotional material in Arabic for users.

The pilot will run until June 2020 and will inform availability of resources in different languages and formats for sanctuary seeking parents.