Exploring the concept of empowerment through the delivery of a video intervention for families of deaf children

PhD student

Luke Collins

Supervisory team

Dr Heather Fortnum (Retired)

Dr Deborah James (Northumbria University)
Professor Ron Carter (University of Nottingham)


NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU programme

Study period


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified empowerment as a viable public health strategy, but this concept does not have a universal definition. There is also a need to develop tools for evidencing and measuring empowerment.

This project fits within a broad research programme led by Dr Deborah James that seeks to create empowerment within families of prelingual deaf children through the delivery of an intervention known as Video Interaction Guidance. This intervention looks at video clips of the parent and child in interaction and identifies the subtle behaviours that create successful communication (James, 2011). Video Interaction Guidance in the context of childhood hearing impairment: A tool for family centred practice. In H. Kennedy, M. Landor & L. Todd (Eds.), Video Interaction Guidance. A Relationship-Based Intervention to Promote Attunement, Empathy and Wellbeing. London: Jessica Kingsley.). By focusing on strengths in the communicative relationship, the intervention creates ‘empowerment’ as a change in perspective.

We are looking at the conversations that occur around the viewing of the video clips between the parents and the intervention guide. The definition of empowerment used is informed by theories of discourse analysis. Evidence of this empowerment is provided in the changes in the spoken language of the parents, who become more aware of the strengths in their communicative relationship with their deaf child and how to develop these further. Outcomes will demonstrate how the intervention can create opportunities for empowerment alongside the delivery of routine services for families of deaf children.

The outcomes suggest that the use of video feedback of in situ practice could help staff develop person-centred work practices.  This is published in James et al, 2015 and in Collins and James, 2011