Sharing the Science (now known as Sharing the Brain Story) is a programme that aims to help professionals and families understand child brain development and how it can be affected by early adversity.
The programme uses six metaphors to explain key aspects of early child development, the impact of adversity, and the factors that can lead to abuse and neglect.
We evaluated a programme pilot conducted in Glasgow to understand professionals’ experiences of attending a Sharing the Science workshop and using the Sharing the Science metaphors in practice.
We also conducted focus groups with parents, carers and young people to explore their responses to the Sharing the Science metaphors.
Authors: Emma Moore, Emily Robson Brown and Gill Churchill
Parents, carers and young people felt that sharing the metaphors widely was important for improving understanding of early child development, and for helping parents to do the best for their children. However, desire for universal sharing needs to be balanced with being trauma-informed and making sure that support is available, as the metaphors have the potential to cause distress to individuals who have experienced trauma or abuse.
The Sharing the Science metaphors were perceived to increase knowledge of the six concepts they explain and were felt to be helpful for raising awareness of the impact of trauma and abuse on child brain development.
The metaphors led to discussions about personal experiences, indicating that they may be a helpful tool for professionals to use to facilitate conversations in therapeutic work with children and families.
Watching the metaphor videos led to the expression of feelings of blame and failure from parents/carers whose child had experienced adversity, as well as judgements about the acceptability of different parenting practices. It is therefore important to emphasise that recovery is always possible when raising awareness about the impact of adversity.
Moore, E., Robson Brown, E. and Churchill, G. (2021) Formative evaluation of Sharing the Science: building a shared understanding of child brain development and the impact of early adversity. London: NSPCC.
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