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Spotlight on researchers - Camilla Babbage

Posted on 19 November 2018 by Helen Robbins


Camilla Babbage tells us about her new research to develop a digital tool to help young people with TS or a tic disorder manage negative feelings.


Camilla Babbage


PhD Researcher (2nd year)

Where are you doing your research?

University of Nottingham, School of Medicine, Institute of Mental Health


What is the topic of your research?

I am researching the development of a digital tool, like an app or a website for young people who have Tourette Syndrome or a tic disorder. The tool intends to help young people manage negative feelings such as anxiety, stress, fatigue and low mood which have been shown to be more intense in this group of young people.


How will this help people with TS?

Developing ways to manage such negative feelings could mean young people are able to get more out of school and are better able to create relationships with others, such as family members and friends. Some research has also found that negative feelings can lead to an increase in tic-related symptoms. By helping young people to manage such negative feelings, we hope to see young people feeling better and experiencing fewer tic-related problems.


What stage of the research are you at?

I have just started the research part of my work and I'm looking for participants! Firstly, I want to talk to young people to find out more about how they feel day-to-day and what makes a day good or bad. I also want to know what sort of things young people with tics may do to help them feel better, and if these ideas would be good to include on a digital tool, like an app or website.

Watch this video by Camilla  which explains how the initial chat with her (in person or video call) will work

I am looking for any young person, male or female, who lives in the UK, aged between 9-17 and who has a diagnoses of Tourette Syndrome or tic disorder. These young people must access and use technology, such as using mobile phone apps, accessing the internet or using a tablet. If you’re not quite sure whether you’ve done something like that then just get in touch with me and I will let you know if you can take part.

I am also seeking the help of professionals who have experience of working with young people with TS, such as mental health nurses, clinicians, therapists etc. I am interested in the ideas professionals have around what young people with tics would benefit from in a digital tool to help improve the young person’s wellbeing. If you’re a professional who may be interested in this, I would be really grateful if you could please get in touch with me at my email.


What will happen next in the study?

Talking to young people with TS and TS professionals should give me an idea about what the negative feelings young people have which they would like to manage better. Taking these ideas, the next think I will do is put them together to create a draft of the digital tool.

After that my goal will be to present this draft to young people with TS and their parents. This will be completed through a group discussion with young people and their parents. We will discuss what areas we like, things that may still be needed and ideas that could be adjusted to make the tool as good as possible!

The last part of the research will be looking at how well the tool works. To do this, young people will be asked to trial the tool and see if it makes a difference to how they feel and how they manage their feelings over time.


Why do you want to be a researcher?

I’ve always loved learning, and in a way I think being a researcher is just like going to school but for adults! I was always one of those people at school who used to go home and start my homework straight away, so it sort of makes sense that I ended up at University…

I think one of the main reasons I love research is because I really like people and my research is very people focused. By using the opinions of young people who know how it feels to have tics and then basing the tool on their ideas, this project is also really people-focused. In essence, I try to learn what things help people feel better and what stops them from feeling worse and then I try and ensure they know this so they can do what they can to feel better – there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing!

Watch this great animation made by Camilla, explaining about the research

If you would like to take part in the study please complete this online survey

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Spotlight on researchers - Camilla Babbage


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