A ‘person-centred approach’ refers to a way of working together that aims to:

  • Place people at the centre of making decisions about their own futures;

  • Seek creative and effective possible solutions;

  • Remove barriers so that people can successfully achieve what they aspire to.

The approach includes a range of information-gathering activities, and also can be used to develop person-centred formats for meetings that review children’s progress and plan for their futures, such as during the EHC needs assessment or planning. Furthermore, the EHC assessment uses person centred practice and tools to ensure the child or young person and their family are at the centre of the assessment.

All person-centred activities or events should include the following five core principles:

  • The person should understand that their views are as important as everyone else’s, in whatever way they are expressed;

  • The person should understand the process of the activity in which they are involved;

  • The activity should be as accessible and user friendly as is practical to achieve;

  • The person should have a realistic understanding of the process of the activity and what decisions their views can impact on;

  • The person should be given information about the outcome of any activity, in a manner that is meaningful to them.

This is a way of planning that works for everyone but is particularly helpful for children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities as it helps to plan in a more meaningful and structured way with them.

For children and young people who have more severe or profound disabilities this approach is vital as it helps to understand the detail in their lives and what makes them ‘tick’ as individuals. It brings together the people who know them best to work cooperatively to ensure they achieve their best outcomes, what’s important to and for them and how best to support them even if they cannot communicate these things vocally.

Most importantly, for families this way of planning actively involves them. It draws on the in depth knowledge they have of their child and includes the perspectives of other family members, friends and people who know the person best.

This approach is also key in the development of the EHC Plan in which an important part commonly known as the section A (also called ‘All about Me’) is included. The section A or “All About Me” is divided into parts where the child or young person and their family can record their views. The parts cover the following areas:

  • My aspirations and goals for the future;

  • My history: my journey so far;

  • Things I like about me;

  • Things others like about me;

  • Things I am good at;

  • What is working well for me;

  • What it isn’t working well for me at the moment;

  • Things I like;

  • Things I don’t like;

  • What I’d like to change;

  • How I need to be supported to be heard, understood and stay safe and well;

  • How my family support me with meeting my needs;

  • How are these views been collected/recorded;

The information to complete section A can be obtained through different methods:

  1. Information direct from the young person and family

  2. Completion of a one-page-profile

  3. Meetings between the child/young person and school staff or other professionals

  4. Meetings between parents and school staff or other professionals

  5. Parents and their son/daughter completing their own profile at home.

You can find out more about person centred planning and one-page-profiles by visiting Helen Sanderson Associates website:

http://www.helensandersonassociates.co.uk

 

For further information, support or advice, please contact us.