Spring Fun! – by Jacob

By Louca-Mai Brady,

On Friday 21st of April, we had our 8th YPAG meeting, and I was very happy to see everyone online, but the only downside is that there is no pizza when we meet on Zoom ☹️

We started off with a fun ‘show and tell’ icebreaker about sharing our hobbies or things we had done. It was interesting to hear everyone’s hidden talents! A lot of them were about people having pets 🐶🐱 and being very active🏃.

We heard about a workshop Louca-Mai and Julia did for researchers at the university about involving children and young people in research, which some members of our group helped with.

“I wanted to do the workshop as I wanted to make sure that researchers knew and understood why they should include young people in their research, and how getting input from children and young people can help improve their research. I found the day very interesting and useful, as in the future I want to be involved in medical research”. Keira

“I wanted to do the workshop because I wanted to learn from researchers as they were also learning from me. It is important to involve young people in research because it allows researchers to see our perspectives and how it could affect us, and improve their research. Taking part in the workshop definitely increased my knowledge and interest in research, as well as my confidence as I did a presentation in front of the group”. Benita

Then Nicola, A PhD student from the University of Hertfordshire¸ talked to us about her research with children with epilepsy, autism and/or learning disabilities. She asked for our input on how to make interviews more fun and engaging for the children involved in the research. Some suggestions were:

  • Make it fun, interesting and comfortable
  • Using games and creative methods to get information (e.g. asking people to draw pictures and talking about them, sending modelling clay to young people in the post and asking them to use it in the interview)
  • Breaking the interviews into chunks
  • Sending treats or fidget toys in the post beforehand
  • Giving children a choice about whether their parents/carers are in the room with them or not
  • If parents/carers are there don’t talk to them instead of the children

Nicola said:

“I was designing a study asking children and young people about their epilepsy diagnosis experiences and really appreciated the help and advice from the YPAG team on how I could make the interviews more interesting for the children in my study. They really listened to my pitch and took on board my questions, they gave me sensible and useful suggestions and it was great fun working with them! Thank you!”

We were then split into 2 groups: one group planned the animation 📽with Terry, while the other group helped Louca-Mai plan our podcast 🎙(more information on both coming soon!). We also discussed the pros and cons of having meetings in person (my favourite) or online (which others prefer) and started planning ideas on how to recruit new members for our YPAG group.

I personally enjoyed the discussion and work we did with the animation, and it was fun creating ideas for Nicola.

Our next meeting is in person at the university of Hertfordshire in June.

(🍕Pizza yum!)