Peer 2 Peer: Designing for Peer Social Engagement and Social-Emotional Wellbeing of Children with Cerebral Palsy

Year of award: 2022


  • Dr Ganna Borzenkova

    Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

Project summary

Cerebral palsy is one of the most common neurological childhood disabilities. Children and young people with cerebral palsy have an increased prevalence of mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, because of reduced peer social engagement and isolation. Middle childhood (age 7-10) is a critical time when children develop peer social skills to prepare them for adolescence and adulthood. However, most interventions address physio-therapeutic needs. More focus on peer socialisation is needed and could have life-altering benefits for children with cerebral palsy. This project proposes to research enhancing peer socialisation through the application of relational play, and how this can be delivered through design-based interventions. The project will investigate: 1) the mechanisms of peer socialisation, specifically social engagement and social-emotional wellbeing of children with cerebral palsy aged 7-10 years; 2) means of promoting peer socialisation through design-based relational play to empower children in social situations and facilitate their holistic development. The project will use participatory action research to involve children actively in co-designing child-friendly design solutions; test the implementation of selected design interventions; and develop design guidelines and policy for empowering children to initiate, develop and maintain peer social interaction to develop peer social skills and promote social-emotional wellbeing.