We are excited to share with you the findings from the first research collaboration between Heads Together for ABI and Monash University.

In 2016, researchers at Monash Uni interviewed parents about their experience of attending Heads Together camps. The interviews were analysed and several themes were identified which are shown in the diagram.

In the first theme, ABI and the Family, parents spoke of the stress their family experienced following their child’s ABI: “You suffer a loss, and its profound … there’s lots of guilt, there’s lots of anger, there’s a whole bunch of stuff”.

Parents then spoke of the initial Apprehension and Discomfort the felt at their first camp: “I didn’t have an expectation, all I had was fear … Am I going to able to cope you know emotionally?”.

However, after this initial stage, parents felt that they gained a sense of Connection and Community. This sense stemmed from three key aspects: that parents shared common experiences with other parents, that they felt accepted by others, and that camp provided a place of information sharing and learning. For parents in this study, camp gave them: “a group of people that I can call on”.

Camp was also a place of Fun, Relaxation and Respite which gave parents a sense of Hope and Perspective: “Talking to … other adults that have had ABIs and just seeing the roads they’ve taken and how they’ve succeeded and studying, it gives you a lot of hope”.

Some parents in this study also felt that camp helped improve Family Functioning, by helping family members talk more openly about how they felt.

This study suggested that for the parents interviewed camp provided an important source of peer support, as well as a source of valuable information and stress relief.

What next?

This year are working with Monash University through two new studies:

The Parents’ Study looks at coping strategies parents adopt and their relationship to personal and family wellbeing. Parents of a child with an ABI aged 2-21 are invited to answer questionnaires online, on paper or over the telephone. If you are interested in taking part, contact the research co-ordinator at or access the questionnaires here:

The Siblings’ Study looks at the relationship between siblings in families with a child with an ABI and how young people experience Heads Together camps. Young people aged 6-21 are invited to take part. Contact the research co-ordinator at or on 0415 915 575 to find out more information.