Person Centred Reviews

On Being Person Centred: Reflections on a different approach

In October 2016, I attended a one day training course hosted by Shropshire Council about adopting a different approach to reviews,using a Person Centred Approach. The training was thought provoking, interesting and introduced me to both a whole new way of thinking as well as tools to help the process. After the training, I had the opportunity to reflect on the empowering nature of the approach and moving away from what we have to what we need. The service would be built around the child rather than the child fitting the service. Is this not what we want for all children?

In January 2017 we were to have a review of our son’s statement and progress at his local school placement so what a great opportunity to try out the approach. Trying the approach was somewhat daunting but it helped to receive support and advice from a PACC representative who knew our child well.

So many meetings we attend while reviewing the last year do seem to have a greater focus on the problems rather than the achievements. That is what signals this approach out as being different. Having decided to go with the idea we enlisted the help of others to think about our son. We wanted to avoid our internal biases about the child and enlisted others to help address the key questions.

What do we appreciate about J ?

What progress has he made?

What works/doesn’t work?

What’s important for him / support does he need?

What is important to him?

What are his aspirations?

What issues are there for the future?

If I could I would……...

These questions prompted a wide variety of answers and enhanced our collective understanding. They were taken from papers circulated at the SCC training and they were discussed by us as adults and with our son.

His comment was telling

    “You really know me, don’t you!!!”

This comment was a positive affirmation of the process and the time we had taken to engage in the process. It may initially take more time, you will probably need to involve others and work with your school to engage in the process but it is worthwhile and opens up the opportunity to develop a plan for a child centred on the child and their needs and not necessarily the current resources available.

The real sense of the positive nature of the process was actually during the review itself. Our son was an active participant and not just a passive recipient. It was great to hear him make positive statements about himself and his life. As his parent and carer, I felt that the review had a positive atmosphere and did not concentrate on difficulties or challenges but had a positive sense of striving for achievement and outlining a planned pathway /route map. There were challenges in the meeting and there will be challenges along the way but this was a great beginning.

Thanks to everyone who participated in an open and honest way and to the school for allowing their meeting to be hijacked.

Mike Thomas - Parent Carer

If you want to know more about person centred approaches more information is available on the websites below and on the Shropshire Local Offer

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