United ResponseA new DVD has been launched that illustrates how using person centred active support can promote social inclusion, independence and choice and control for people with learning disabilities, including those with complex needs such as autism or challenging behaviour. 

‘Promoting Person Centred Support and Positive Outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities’ is a collaboration between disability charity United Response and the Tizard Centre at the University of Kent. The DVD, which aims to address key issues around person centred active support and how it can best be implemented, draws on good practice demonstrated by support staff and managers within United Response.

The DVD was inspired by a recent study of people with learning disabilities conducted by the Tizard Centre and the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the University of Kent, and funded by the NIHR School for Social Care, which revealed that just one third of people included in the sample consistently received person centred active support, despite the fact that people who are supported in this way experience significantly better outcomes in terms of engagement in meaningful activities, relationships and community integration. 

Julie Beadle-Brown, reader in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at the Tizard Centre, said: “The core theme of the film is active support as an enabling relationship between staff or family carers and the person they support so that people grow in skills and independence, experience real choice and control in their lives and become a valued member of their community. This happens irrespective of the severity of disability or the presence of additional needs or difficulties.” 

Focusing on everyday situations and the positive outcomes of support for people with learning disabilities, the film highlights the essential elements of person centred active support. The practice of supporting people to be engaged at home, in the community, at work and in relationships are explored in the film as well as the  links between active support and other elements of good practice, such as good communication, autism-friendly approaches and positive behaviour support.

The DVD promotes the idea of giving people lots of short activities, which ensures tasks feel more manageable. This promotes a sense of independence, and, rather than focusing on one long activity in the day, this strategy makes the most of all of the opportunities available and keeps people engaged throughout the day.

Bev Ashman, practice development co-ordinator at United Response, said: “Active Support is about identifying and meeting the needs of individuals in a person-centred way and this DVD explains the importance of integrating planning and person centred action.

“We believe that active support is a fundamental element of good quality services and we wanted to take the opportunity to promote its use to as many people as possible. Trying new things in a structured and personalised way allows us to support people to have more choice and autonomy over their own lives.”

For further information on ‘Promoting Person Centred Support and Positive Outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities’, contact Lu Large at Lu.Large@unitedresponse.org.uk