Road Safety Research for people with SEN

Funded by The Department for Transport, Dr Sarah O’Toole of University College London is conducting research into exploring road safety in young people between 7 and 18 years-old with SEN (specifically autism, ADHD, learning and cognition impairment).

The project, which has ethical approval, is currently recruiting young people to film journeys that they make to better understand the individual and environmental factors that impact their road safety. Young people will be provided with portable cameras to film three journeys that they make and then will be interviewed about their films.

The project researchers will also interview parents/caregivers and those working with young people with SEN about teaching road safety to individuals with SEN. It is hoped that this will inform the development of road safety resources for use by practitioners and caregivers to teach young people with SEN road safety skills, with the resources being co-designed with young people with SEN.

What’s involved?

Parents/carers will be sent a short questionnaire that asks about their children's SEND. This is so that the researchers can assess whether the child fits the criteria they are looking for.

If the young person is eligible and happy to participate then a study pack is posted out. The study pack contains a small camera that can be worn on a lanyard and instructions on how to operate the camera and what type of films the researchers are after. The young person can then keep the camera for a period of 4 weeks in order to film three journeys that they make that involves some walking. The camera is then posted back to the researchers in a pre-paid envelope provided.

Once the researchers receive the camera they will arrange an interview with the young person at a time and place that is convenient for them. If travel to the interview is required by the family then this will be reimbursed.

During the interview, researchers will discuss the films the young people have made. The interview will be short and adapted to meet the needs of the child. This will be discussed with the parent/caregiver beforehand.

Parents/caregivers will also be invited to participate in an interview, either face-to-face or on the phone to discuss how they feel their child's SEND impacts their road safety and how they teach road safety to their child. If travel is required to attend the interview then this will be reimbursed. This interview should take around 30 minutes.

The results

The researchers hope that through viewing films of how young people with SEND travel it is hoped we will better understand the road safety needs of children with SEND and this will inform how we develop road safety education for young people with SEND.

This project will inform the development of road safety resources for teaching road safety to young people with SEND for use by parents/caregivers and practitioners. These will be developed with input from young people and their families.

If you are interested in participating in the project please contact Sarah O’Toole by email to or call 0207 679 1569


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