Dr. Carolyn Blackburn

Biography

Carolyn has worked in childcare and education for nearly 20 years mainly in primary education and early years.  She has established a reputation for supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Carolyn is an external examiner for a Professional Master degree in Early Years and Inclusion with Specific Learning Difficulties at Bath Spa University and the University of Wolverhampton.  Carolyn is the recipient of a prestigious 2015 Churchill Fellow. This enabled her to travel to New Zealand for postdoctoral research to explore services for children with complex needs.

Carolyn was the Project Lead for two projects investigating the educational implications and practitioner knowledge of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Her work for one of these projects won the Nursery World Editor’s Choice Award and she is the lead author of the first British text on Educating Children with FASD resulting from the other. Carolyn was previously a reviewer for the Teacher Training Resource Bank managed by Canterbury Christchurch University and is currently a member of the editorial board for Infants and Young Children and a Board Member of the European Association of Early Childhood Intervention (EURLYAID).

Recent research involvement where Carolyn was the project lead or a research advisor includes:

  • Promoting children’s well-being, right to make choices and engage in playful activities in restricted environments through music and singing (Froebel Trust)
  • Born early: early care and education for children born prematurely (Birmingham City University)
  • Independent Evaluation of Fosterline England (FosterTalk/Fosterline/ Birmingham City University)
  • Communicative Musicality: sounds, rhythms and pulses in music and language (Birmingham City University)
  • Relationship-based early intervention services for young children with complex disabilities: lessons from New Zealand (Winston Churchill Memorial Trust/Birmingham City University)
  • The policy-to-practice context to the delays and difficulties in the acquisitions of speech, language and communication in the first five years, PhD study (Birmingham City University)
  • Arthur Terry Teaching School Community of Practice for ITT Project (Birmingham City University/Arthur Terry Teaching School)
  • Common Assessment Framework Children and Young People's Satisfaction Survey (Wolverhampton City Council Integrated Working Team/Birmingham City University)
  • Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project (The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, SSAT)
  • Facing the Challenge and Shaping the Future for Children and Young People with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FAS-eD Project) (NOFAS-UK)
  • Building Bridges to Understanding: The acquisition of Early Years Practitioner Knowledge in Relation to the Support and Education of children affected by FASD (Worcestershire Local Authority/Sunfield Special School)
  • The Effectiveness of Communication and Interaction as an SEN Specialism for Specialist Schools (The Schools Network)
  • Making a Difference: What information and advice do parents need when their child is first diagnosed with a disability? (Children's Workforce Development Council/Pre-School Learning Alliance)

In most of these projects, interdisciplinary working has been a feature of the research design and working with children, families and practitioners as co-researchers has also been an enjoyable aspect. Carolyn has presented her research nationally and internationally as a keynote/invited speaker as well as in parallel sessions.

Current Activity

Carolyn is currently involved in the Re-thinking Childhood Research Cluster and also involved in a number of funded research projects.  Carolyn has an active role in the Faculty Ethics Committee as Deputy Chair.  She supervises post-graduate studies and has students who are exploring Care Leavers experiences of Education, Inclusion in Mainstream Primary Schools, Young Children’s Use of Touchscreen Technology, Further Education for Young People with SEND, Early Years Leadership and Neuroscience in Early Childhood Degrees.

Carolyn is particularly interested in interdisciplinary research and the ways in which researchers from diverse disciplines can seek a shared understanding of child and family work so that a richer, more diverse research culture can be envisioned. Carolyn believes that when professionals work together and communicate well with each other children and families benefit.

Areas of Expertise
  • Attachment
  • Early language development
  • Vulnerable learners
  • Inclusion
  • Researching with children
  • Working with families
  • Interdisciplinary working
Qualifications
  • PhD in Education (Early Language/Early Intervention)
  • Postgraduate certificate in Learning and Teaching (HE) Distinction
  • Postgraduate certificate in Research Practice
  • Postgraduate certificate in Special and Inclusive Education (Merit)
  • BA (Hons) Social Sciences
  • Diploma in Pre-School Practice
Memberships
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Board Member of EURYLAID
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Infants and Young Children
  • Member of the International Society on Early Intervention
  • Member of TACTYC Association for the Professional Development of Early Years Educators
  • Member of the British Education Research Association
Teaching

Carolyn teaches on the Children in Integrated Professional Services degree (Child Development Module) and across the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences about Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Research

Carolyn is leading projects related to the early care and education experiences of children born prematurely. She is also working with Birmingham Children’s Hospital and a Singing Medicine Programme to explore children’s right to make choices and well-being in restricted environments. Recent research projects include a project about young children's musical interactions called Communicative Musicality and an international project that seeks to explore relationship-based early intervention services for young children with complex needs in collaboration with the world-leading Champion Centre.

Postgraduate Supervision

Carolyn supervises Masters and PhD students in the areas of early childhood development, developmental risk, family relationships, SEND and inclusion.

Publications

Articles

YOUNG, S. ABSOUD, M., BLACKBURN, C. and others (2016) Guidelines for Identification and Treatment of Individuals with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Associated Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Based upon Expert Consensus BMC Psychiatry https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-016-1027-y

BLACKBURN, C. (2016) Early Childhood Inclusion in the United Kingdom Infants and Young Children Vol 29, Iss 3 239 – 246  doi: 10.1097/IYC.0000000000000069 http://journals.lww.com/iycjournal/Abstract/2016/07000/Early_Childhood_Inclusion_in_the_United_Kingdom.10.aspx

BLACKBURN, C. (2016) Relationship-based early intervention services for children with complex needs: lessons from New Zealand, International Journal of Birth and Parent Education Vol (3) 27-30  http://www.ijbpe.com/index.php/journals/past-issues/vol-3-issue-3-contents-6

BLACKBURN, C. (2016 ) Independent Evaluation of a Fostering Helpline, Implications for Policy and Fostering Practice, Adoption and Fostering Vol. 40(2) 167–178 oi: 10.1177/0308575916640227 http://aaf.sagepub.com/content/40/2/167.abstract

BLACKBURN, C. AND AUBREY, C. (2016) Policy to Practice context to the delays and difficulties in the acquisition of speech language and communication in early years. International Journal of Early Years Education Vol 24, Iss 4 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09669760.2016.1244046?src=recsys&journalCode=ciey20

BLACKBURN, C. (2016) Relationship-based early intervention services for children with complex disabilities Journal of Children’s Services Vol. 11 Iss: 4, pp.330 – 344 http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/JCS-04-2016-0008

BLACKBURN, C (2015) Communicative Musicality: Sound, Rhythm and Pulse in Music and Communication. TACTYC Research Briefing http://tactyc.org.uk/conferences/

BLACKBURN, C. (2015) Supporting children and young people with FASD FosterTalk Magazine September 2015 pp 18-19

BLACKBURN, C. (2015) Just one drink Special World September 2015 http://www.specialworld.net/author/dr-carolyn-blackburn/

Porter, E. (2013) Hidden needs: FASD Interview with Carolyn Blackburn and Barry Carpenter. Special Children, Vol: 212 pp 18-19

BLACKBURN, C. (2012) Drinking it in. SEN Magazine September/October 2012 SEN60 pp 80-83

BLACKBURN, C. and CARPENTER, B. (2012) Engaging Young Children with Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities in Early Years Settings, Early Years Educator Vol: 14, No. 2 June 2012 pp 38-44

BLACKBURN, C., (2012) The diverse communication needs of young children in the foundation stage: reflecting on policy to practice issues TACTYC reflections

BLACKBURN, C., and AUBREY, C., (2012) More than words can say: The diverse communication needs of young children in the foundation stage NALDIC Quarterly 9.2, Winter 2011/12 pp 28-32

BLACKBURN, C, EGERTON, J. CARPENTER, C (2011) Living with FASD, Special Magazine, March 2011

BLACKBURN, C. CARPENTER, B. and EGERTON, J. (2010) Shaping the future for children with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders, Support for Learning, Volume 25, Number 3, August 2010, pp139-146

BLACKBURN, C. and WHITEHURST, T. (2010) Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD): raising awareness in early years settings, British Journal of Special Education, Volume 27, Number 3 pp 122-129 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8578.2010.00471.x/full

BLACKBURN, C., (2009) Early Learning and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, (2009) EYE Magazine, Mark Allen Education Ltd. Volume 11 No 4 August 2009. pp 38-44

WHITEHURST, T. and BLACKBURN, C. (2009) Calling Time on FASD, Special Children, February/March 2009 pp 25-27

BLACKBURN, C. (2008) Making a Difference: Families Look to Pre-School for Support, but Who Will Support Pre-School Staff, Interconnections Bulletin, 2008.

Co-edited books

Carpenter, B., Blackburn, C. and Egerton, J. (2013) (Eds) Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. London: Routledge

Single authored books

Blackburn, C. (2017) Developing inclusive practice for young children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: A framework of knowledge and understanding for the early childhood workforce, London: Routledge

Co-authored books

Blackburn, C., Carpenter, B. and Egerton, J. (2012) Educating children and young people with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. London: Routledge

Chapters in books

Aubrey, C., Blackburn, C. Jones, C. and Lowe, R. (2017) The Regulated Child in Alex Owen (editor) (2017) Childhood Today: An Exploration of the Contemporary Experiences of Children, London: Sage

Blackburn, C. (2016) Early Intervention for children with SLCN a case study of England in Sukkar, H. Dunst, C. Kirby, J (Eds) Early Childhood Intervention: Working with families of young children with special needs. London: Routledge

Blackburn, C. (2013) Walking through a moonless night: FASD and Early Childhood Intervention in Carpenter, Blackburn and Egerton (2013) FASD and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. London: Routledge pp 102-122

Blackburn, C. (2012) What do I want to accomplish through my inquiry? Raising practitioner awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. In Jones, P., Whitehurst, T. and Egerton, J. (2012) (Eds) Creating Meaningful Inquiry in Inclusive Clasrooms: Practitioners’ stories of research. London: Routledge pp 17-29

Carpenter, B., Blackburn, C., and Egerton, J. (2009) Introductory Chapter for European Developments in Early Childhood Intervention, EURYLAID

Policy Reports

Contributor to BERA SIG Group (2014) Early Years Policy Advice and Future Research Agendas A BERA Early Childhood Special Interest Group / TACTYC: Association for the Professional Development of Early Years Educators collaboration (Contributor)

Research reports and resources

Blackburn, C. (2016) Relationship-based early intervention services for children with complex needs: lessons from New Zealand

Blackburn, C. (2016) Communicative musicality: sounds rhythms and pulses in music and language

Blackburn, C. (2015) Independent Evaluation of Fosterline England. Birmingham: Birmingham City University/Fosterline England

Blackburn, C. (2014) The policy-to practice context to the delays and difficulties in the acquisition of speech, language and communication in the first five years. Unpublished PhD Thesis. Birmingham City University

Blackburn, C. and Williams P. (2013) Birth mother's perceptions of early professional support. Unpublished survey of the European Birth Mothers Network

Yardley, E, Aubrey, C., Clibbens, J., Lowe, R., Jones, C. and Blackburn, C. (2012) Common Assessment Framework Children and Young People’s Satisfaction Survey Wolverhampton City Council: Integrated Working Team: Birmingham City University, April 2012

Egerton, J., Blackburn, C., Tutt, R. and Kirby, A. (2012) Understanding the Child: Development and Difficulties. Online materials for teachers of learners with severe, profound and complex learning difficulties

Blackburn, C., (2010) Facing the Challenge and Shaping the Future for Primary and Secondary aged Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FAS-eD Project, Project Toolkit including project report, literature review, case studies, podcasts and primary and secondary learning and teaching frameworks)

Blackburn, C. (2009) Building Bridges with Understanding: FASD Practitioner Resource: Pack Focus on Strategies, 2009, Sunfield Publications/Worcestershire County Council, Winner of Editor's Choice Award, Nursery World Awards, 2009

Conference presentations

2016

  • The value of relational pedagogy and professional love to early intervention and child/family well being. BCU Health Conference, Connected Communities Birmingham, 30th November 2016
  • The value of relational pedagogy and professional love to early intervention and child/family well being. TACTYC conference Principled Early Years Practice: Valuing Our Past, Debating our Present and Inspiring our Future, London, 19th November 2016
  • I’m going to be a Superhero and Educating Children and Young People with FASD parallel sessions and CPD workshop, European Conference on FASD, Royal Holloway, 12th – 15th September 2016
  • The value of relational pedagogy and professional love to early intervention and child/family well being. Well being conference 2016 Co creating pathways to well being Birmingham City University, 5th - 6th September 2016
  • Young children’s use of private speech, International Society on Early Intervention conference on Children’s Rights, Stockholm University 8 – 10th June 2016
  • Relationship-based early intervention services for children with complex needs International Society on Early Intervention conference on Children’s Rights, Stockholm University 8 – 10th June 2016
  • Relationship-based early intervention services for children with complex needs European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities conference on Growing Together in Early Intervention, Chisinau Moldova 21st – 22nd April 2016

2015

  • Communicative Musicality: Rhythms, sounds and pulses in early communication and language. Education Conference, Birmingham City University, July 2015, Birmingham
  • Examination of the Newborn Professional Update – Invited Keynote – Birmingham City University, 20th May 2015, Birmingham

2014

  • The significance of relational pedagogy to young children’s speech, language and communication in early years settings. Parallel session at TACTYC conference: Effective Pedagogy, building strong evidence for children’s early learning November 2014, Birmingham
  • Slipping through the net: the policy to practice case study of speech language and communication needs for children aged birth to five in England, International Congress on Early Childhood Intervention, Antalya, Turkey, 3-6 April, 2014

2013

  • More than words can say: the diverse communication needs of young children in the foundation stage. BERA conference. University of West Sussex, 3-5 September 2013, Brighton
  • Understanding children and young people with FASD, training day for foster carers of vulnerable children, Inspired Foundations, 12th July, 2013, Midlands
  • The Diverse and Complex Needs of Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders overlapping and co-existing conditions , National Association of Disability Practitioners, The Road Ahead Conference, 27th and 28th June 2013, Crewe 
  • Understanding and including children with FASD: University of Chester ITT SEN Day, 17th June 2013
  • More than words can say: The diverse communication needs of young children in the foundation Stage, BECERA Conference on Researching Children's Lives: Questions of Practice and Methods, 20th and 21st February, 2013, Birmingham
  • Understanding and including children and young people with FASD, 11th February 2013, SEND - The New Landscape - Preparing for Change, Babcock Training, Mercure Maidstone
  • Understanding and including children and young people with FASD, Friday 8th February 2013 SEND: The New Landscape - Preparing for Change, Babcock Training, Epsom Downs Racecourse

2012

  • Practical interventions: Benefits for development, learning, relationships and growing up, Missing a Trick, Rising to the challenge of FASD, CCC Limited Conference, 25th Coventry, September, 2012
  • Common Assessment Framework and Young People’s Satisfaction, CRE Conference, Birmingham City University, 12th June, 2012 (with Professor Carol Aubrey, Rose Lowe and Charlotte Jones)
  • The diverse communication needs of young children in the foundation stage, CRE Conference, Birmingham City University, 12th June 2012
  • EAL and additional needs, NALDIC summer conference, University of Reading, 16th June  2012
  • Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, An Introduction, Training Day, SEN Issues, Liverpool Hope University, 21st February  2012
  • Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: An Introduction, University of Chester Trainee Teacher SEN Conference, 10th February 2012
  • Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: An Introduction, University of Worcester, Secondary PGCE SEN Focus Day, 19th January,  2012

2011

  • More than words can  say: the diverse communication needs of young children in the foundation stage, National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum, EAL and  Additional Needs Conference, University of Leeds November 2011
  • More than words can say: the diverse communication needs of young children in the foundation stage, Ready for school? Research, reflection and debate, TACTYC, York, November  2011
  • Challenges facing children with FASD, Unlocking Potential, Changing Lives FASD Conference, 2XLYouth Project, Hereford, November 2011
  • Engaging young children with complex learning difficulties and disabilities (CLDD) Education Conference, Birmingham City University, June, 2011
  • Educational implications of FASD, Chester University, SEN Conference, April  2011
  • Using collaborative approaches to support the engagement for learning of children and young people with  CLDD, Complex Learning Difficulties and Difficulties Project Dissemination Conferences, London, Wolverhampton and  Penrith, March 2011 (with Dr. Tamara Brooks)
  •  Educational Implications of FASD, Shaping a future for children with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and their families, Central Conference Consultants Ltd, Aston University, Birmingham – February 2011

2010

  • The complex and diverse needs of children and young people with FASD,  Specialist Schools and Academies Trust Complex Learning Difficulties and  Disabilities Interim Conference: Emerging Challenges for 21st Century Education, Wolverhampton Science  Park, November 2010 
  • Educational implications of FASD, First European Conference on FASD, (FASD, Growing Awareness in Europe) Mönchengladbach, Netherlands, November 2010 (poster presentation)
  • Educational implications of FASD, Ricards  Lodge High School Community Cohesion Conference, Wimbledon, October 2010
  • Educational implications of FASD, Keynote speaker, Specialist School and Academies Trust Special Schools Network Autumn Conference, Leicester, September  2010
  • Educational Implications of FASD, Specialist Schools and Academies Trust SENCo Network, Bradford Academy, June, 2010
  • Educational implications of FASD, Current approaches to the education and care of children and young people with FASD, Royal Society of Medicine, London, March  2010 

2009

  • Building Bridges with Understanding: The acquisition of practitioner knowledge in relation to young children with FASD, Worcestershire Local Authority Early Years and Childcare Service FASD  Conference, Worcester, February  2009
Media Work
Work With Industry

Carolyn is a Board Member of Eurlyaid (European Association of Early Childhood Intervention) and an Editorial Board Member of Infants and Young Children.

Links and Social Media