‘How does an elephant tell a mouse what it is like to be an elephant?’ replied one young man, when we asked, ‘What is it like to live with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?’ His observations demonstrate how adult-centred research can hinder children’s ‘voice’. Children’s right to participate in the decision-making process (e.g. education or health care) has received growing recognition. However, little is known about ‘how’ this can be achieved in research or practice, especially when participants have special educational needs. Thus, researchers must develop creative and unconventional approaches. This case example of a method in action explores findings from our research, where methodology and methods were co-constructed in consultation with children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (7-18 years). Drawing on findings from four studies, we examine our three-staged approach to the co-construction of verbal and visual methods, which included child consultations, creativity, trial-and-error, reflexivity and a trans-disciplinary approach. The outcome was an innovative draw-label-dialogue technique, which explores the whole child (circle task), in the context of everyday activities and events (rollercoaster task) and the relationship between the two (emoticon-labelling task).
Developing Creative Methods for Children’s Voice Research: Potential and Pitfalls When Constructing Verbal and Visual Methods for Research with Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder