New Ideas, Stories & Concepts
Send us your ideas, articles, stories and concepts. We will place your story on our web site and will consider publishing the work for if we and others are interested.
Agents of Hope Podcast
Agents of Hope is a podcast for anyone interested in Education, Psychology and social issues. Dr Tim Cox, who has recently completed a Doctorate in Applied Educational Psychology, the podcast aims to engage in long form critical discussion about issues that arise in the field of applied psychology. Each episode explores the practice, values and theory behind the practice of each guest.
You can follow Tim on twitter @timceducation and if you are interested in listening to the podcast you can listen here (or wherever you listen to your podcasts):
Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope: Envisioning inclusive, person-centred, futures with Colin Newton
A podcast featuring Colin about his time as an EP, including work on PATH, inclusion and hope
You can find an episode guide for the podcast here:
Fresh Approaches to Transition
Why don’t we have ‘freshers week’ at secondary school at start of Year 7?
The most frequent telephone queries we receive at ‘Inclusive Solutions’ are from parents whose disabled son or daughter is about to make the transition from Primary to Secondary School. Typically there is a tale to be told of LA or Academy planning procedures that are too little and too late, and a severe lack of confidence from all parties that the transition will be successful. Little wonder that transfers from mainstream to special schools continue to peak at Year 7!
Because of this we have put together a different kind of support plan that aims to maximise the chances of Primary/Secondary transitions being successful. In essence our approach brings together a person centred planning tool called ‘MAPS’ and a ‘Circle of Friends’ recruited from within the Year 7 tutor group. Sometimes the Circle already exists in the Primary setting and then the planning tales place in the Summer Term of Year 6. The circle of friends forms the core of the MAPS session and are central in developing (with parents and staff) a Plan for embedding the focus child in the new school setting.
For anticipated concerns we sometimes use the PATH planning process – ideally at the receiving school but with all those present who really care about the young person present. We also employ Inclusion Facilitators in very high profile situations to support the transition whose role is ‘to do whatever it takes’ to strengthen the inclusion of the young person in secondary education.
We are looking to pilot our Community Circle in Year 7 model of indirect support and inclusion – let us know if you are interested? This involves a range of students in Year 7 coming together weekly and offering an exchange of wants needs and offers to each other. The students would be a mix of high needs students and those with much to offer.
Do contact us direct if you think any of these approaches could help in the transition of a child you are involved with. Watch out for further updates on this approach to transition in further editions in our Ezine Seasonal E-zines and on our blog
Seneca said, “Our plans miscarry if they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”
Canoe Metaphor – An Approach to Tackling Anxiety
Click here to view the Canoe Metaphor as a PDF. Created by Dave Traxon.
Art and Psychology
by Derek Wilson
Do you know Seymour Sarason’s book: ‘The Challenge of Art to Psychology”?
It’s old school (1988) – but he makes some key points about ‘artistic activity’ and how , in his view, it seems to get extinguished as we grow older.
That Robert Frost quote is: ” A poem is never a put up job…It begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a loneliness. It is never a thought to begin with. It is at its best when it is a tantalising vagueness. (Tell that to the CBT specialists!)
+ This Tolstoy quote is well known but none the less good for that:
” The business of art lies just in this, to make that understood and felt which, in the form of an argument might be incomprehensible and inaccessible.”
― Leo Tolstoy, What Is Art?
There’s a famous (in the US at least) lecture by Elliot Eisner (2002) called ‘What can education learn from the Arts about the practice of education” – in which he talks about the 6 artistically rooted qualitative forms of intelligence. I got a lot from this – makes me think more about how inextricable form and content generally are and therefore for us, the way we choose to do out assessing/planning determines the outcomes – good news for Person centred planners!
When we do our “graphics workshop’ I’m developing a short input on what we’re calling ‘ Listening of the Poetry’ – here’s a recent summary graphic with clues on what you’re listening for – this as far as it goes to date but I’m sure there’s a lot more to be said somewhere down the line
The pupils need listening to as much as the adults if change is ever to occur.
Practical Protocol for Psychologists
Practical Protocol for Psychologists to Professionally Challenge Medical Practice when they have Concerns about the Over-prescribing of Psychotropic Drugs to Control Behaviour in School-aged Children.
REVISED Practical Protocol for Psychologists by Dave Traxson.
In all countries there will be ethical and professional guidelines that support a psychologist or any mental health worker’s ability to professionally challenge practice that they have major concerns about in order to better safeguard the children with whom they jointly work.
In the UK psychologists and many mental health workers have as members of the Health Care Professions Council have the ‘ Ethical Legitimacy ‘ to challenge medics when there is a real concern about the mental health and wellbeing of a young person with whom we jointly work.
This idea – of listening to people’s threads as a way of locating their gifts and then connecting them with othewrs across a community is very powerful. A simple idea – yet transformational for communities damned for their deficits! Just get out there and meet people and listen hard!
De’Amon Harges, “The Roving Listener”, tells his story of how he came to work in community to observe and connect peoples’ gifts in neighbourhoods to build community, economy, and mutual delight. This was taken at the Toronto Summer Institute for Inclusion in Toronto, Canada at Ryerson University.
Back in the early 90′s, Jack asked 51 people with the label of disability a simple question: “Who is in your life?” This is the result of that research.
To me, it prompts two more questions:
- Does this look like my life or the life of most people without disabilities?
- Has anything changed in the past 20 years to improve this picture?
Human Thinking Together
The Pictures We Paint – Max Neil tries to explain the importance of listening well, and of being accurate and respectful in how we reflect that listening. He illustrates that post with this picture by Jean Cocteau: “Beauty and the Beast”, and promises to talk further about some of the questions it evokes in him. This links strongly to our thinking about being more person centred and capacity focused when ‘assessing’ anyone.
Learning from Hostage Negotiators
This is Emma Van Der Clift’s MA thesis and it’s all about moving from behavioural to person centred approaches to behaviour management and what teachers can learn from Hostage Negotiators!
Emma is Norman Kunc’s wife and a long time leader in the N. American inclusion movement Do have a look – it’s very clearly written and incisive on the theme of how schools’ default approaches to conflict – detentions, exclusions etc are the opposite of building a sense of belonging and inclusion – both aims which likely feature in most school’s mission statements. We’ve been saying this sort of thing for years but the research back up Emma provides is outstanding.
Let Beauty in
‘imagine a world that works for…’
Check out the work of Netherfield Primary School on touch. Read their policy here.
‘We define the appropriate use of touch as in situations in which abstinence would actually be inhumane, unkind and potentially psychologically or neurobiologically damaging. Examples include the natural and beneficial use of touch in the comforting of a child who is in an acute state of distress. Not to reach out to the child in such circumstances could be re-traumatising and neurobiologically damaging. Failing to physically soothe a child when in the face of intense grief and/or upset can lead to a state of hyper-arousal in which toxic levels of stress chemicals are released in the body and brain’.
Credo for Support – People First
If you not sure how to respectfully help a disabled person watch this!!
Quantum Theory and Inclusion
Colin Newton 2011
Quantum theory – a world in which a particle really can be in several places at once and moves from one place to another by exploring the whole universe simultaneously.Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw – The Quantum Universe: Everything that can happen does happen
This universal participation as described, is very evocative of an inclusive world in which parts of us are parts of everyone else – now that’s a set of close relationships!! Should strengthen love and reduce hate huh?
What do you think?
Physicians and their staff need to put on a consistent show
7 Deadly Habits that Destroy Relationships
BY GERALDINE ROWE – FEBRUARY 15TH, 2011
When we attempt to control another person, we tend to use one or more of the 7 Deadly Habits. Glasser encourages us to identify our disconnecting habits and replace them with new, connecting behaviours.
Reality Therapy, the counselling application of Choice Theory, recognises and tackles the fact that most people’s unhappiness is the result of relationship problems and most of these problems have as their root the attempt by one person to control another.
When a couple who have been having trouble in their relationship start to get along better, they do not always recognise that they have ceased trying to control each other.
- Bribing or rewarding to control
7 Connecting Habits
- Negotiating differences
The Complexity of Choice – John and Connie O’Brien
Connie Lyle-O’Brien and John O’Brien explore the complexity of choice for people with developmental disabilities in the absence of a breadth of experience, and a strong network of relationships.
Have a look at this impressive website.
“Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world”
Check out these great ideas too!
- Differentiation Daily – check out daily creative differentiation tips for busy inclusive educators!
- Accept do not judge – we met Carley and Denise in Lancashire. They work in Children’s Centres but have the wisdom of life experience. What does it take to engage with those who people say are hard to reach? Nothing about judgement all about acceptance! Listen to them and watch them on this short video….
- Including Samuel – before his son Samuel was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, photojournalist Dan Habib rarely thought about the inclusion of people with disabilities. Now he thinks about inclusion every day. Shot and produced over four years, Habib’s award-winning documentary film, Including Samuel, honestly chronicles the Habib family’s efforts to include Samuel in every facet of their lives. The film also features four other families with varied inclusion experiences, plus interviews with dozens of teachers, young people, parents and disability rights experts.
- The Spirit of Inclusion – watch this intriguing YouTube Video. You will need to watch it twice!
- Everyone has a Song Read this story of an African tribal song that celebrates individually, gifts, identity and inclusion.
- Heading for Inclusion – submission to the 2007 review into Primary Education. Heading for Inclusion is an organisation of education leaders dedicated to the principles and practice of inclusive education. Heading for Inclusion welcomed the opportunity to contribute to a discussion on the future of Primary Education. ‘Our simple message is that all children have the right to receive a world class education at the heart of their own community – in a fully inclusive local community school(Even the United Nations shares our view!)’. Nigel Utton 2007.
- The All Age Centre for Independent Living – a visionary discussion paper by Micheline Mason, September 2007. If you are interested in attending a meeting to take this further contact email@example.com.
- Educational Psychologists: Barriers or Allies for inclusion? A View from the UK Are educational psychologists true allies for inclusion or part of the problem?
- The Big Red Bus – Chris Johnson (Dryden) and Lynn Turner, Educational Psychologists have developed this lovely process designed to help set up a supportive team around a pupil in difficulty. A team is recruited and roles on the ‘bus’ agreed to meet identified needs. Check it out!
- Educational psychologists as ‘critical friends’ supporting schools with inclusive education – is of great interest to inclusive educational psychologists as it maps the story of educational psychologists work. Read this excellent paper by Peter Hick, educational psychologist from Oldham.
- Essential Elements of Inclusive Educational Practices – read this paper on thinking around inclusion in Scotland.
- Slow Inclusion – Peter Bates a long time advocate of inclusion has done much to bring this dream to life among those working in Mental Health Services. Excellent papers and developments in the Mental Health world can be found on the National Development Team’s web site www.ndt.org.uk.
- From The Siege of Beslan Emerges the New Beginnings of an Inclusive School. Joe Whittaker, University of Bolton. Beslan was brought to world attention when, the succinctly named, School Number One was occupied by heavily armed hostage takers. More than1000 adults and children were held at gun point, surrounded by explosive devises, held without food or water, in the sweltering heat, for three days in the schools gymnasium. The siege ended after Russian Special Forces engaged in a fierce battle with the hostage takers resulting in the death of 344 civilians 172 of which were children. Read what happened to the disabled children and adults that emerged as a result of this nightmare and the wonderfully inclusive instinct that followed(small 27KB Word file download).
- ‘The Power of Imagination’ – so often we have found people do not accept inclusion as possible simply because they have not seen it happening properly. Perhaps they have never seen pupils with certain impairments ever included. Many very well meaning people simply cannot imagine it either… Here Kathy from the US applies failure of imagination and abundance of imagination concepts to the inclusion of disabled children and adults.
- Trading Places – Kathie Snow discovers that educators would not like to trade places with pupils placed in special schools!
Understanding Movement Differences can be key to including many challenging children and adults who appear very different and may have labels of autism, Tourette’s syndrome, or severe learning difficulty.
Circle of Friends – when its tough….
Circles of Support and Accountability for Sex Offenders are an organisation in Toronto, Canada who are building circles of support around sex offenders. They were not formed to compete with existing service providers. They were formed to assist: – those considered by many to be the “untouchables”, or the most marginalised in our society, – those for whom there was little or no support – those for whom there was no support from other governmental or non-governmental service or agency COSA originated to meet the unique needs of Sex Offenders, because no one else was stepping forward to do so.
A circle of friends for a child in public care – pupils in public care are at such risk of exclusion. Listen to this heartwarming story of a circle of friends in action from Jackie Dearden.
Introducing the Boundaries Clock – we have developed the Boundaries Clock to help people manage their professional boundaries whilst meeting safeguarding obligations and promoting inclusion. Six pairs of competing priorities are set in opposition to one another to form the twelve-point Boundary Clock. Individual case studies or service arrangements can then be placed on the clock-face and the twelve vantage points used in turn to generate ideas for shaping practice in an individual situation. As each of the twelve viewpoints is merely an entry point to the clock-face area, the issues that arise inevitably overlap here and there, but the twelve points frame a systematic discussion. The Boundaries Clock brings together the triple imperative to safeguard vulnerable people, maintain professional boundaries and advance social inclusion. It does not provide easy answers, but rather provides a systematic way to consider the issues and arrive at a defensible position. This paper applies the Boundaries Clock to the Community Circle demonstrating its utility, and assisting readers to develop sufficient fluency to apply the approach to new settings.
Asset Based Community Development – Mike Green, who has worked in a strength – based approach to community development throughout North America, ‘Asset Based Community Development’ , shared with us in Toronto 2007 a number of very fresh innovative and deep approaches to change and facilitation.
Community Guides and Connectors – we love this idea and often work with the idea in our training around challenging behaviour and inclusion. Recruiting well connected community members to link up with vulnerable or isolated individuals or families and to build circles of support or connection around them using their contacts but NO paid professionals or experts. A free 50 page book that describes one approach to this idea is available from the ABCD Institute and you can download it ….. Hidden Treasures: Building community connections by engaging the gifts of people on welfare, people with disabilities, people with mental illness, older people and young people.
Supported Independent Living – Niki’s Story A great article from Pete and Wendy Crane on Supported Living.
Growing Relationships Intentionally
“The heart of successful inclusion is relationships.” Sapon Shevin, 2007. We used to think we could drop any pupil into a mainstream school, setting or community and they would just make friends and everything would be just great. We now know this is not true. For inclusion to be a reality we will often have to work intentionally to create the conditions in which relationships can flourish and grow. The more complex or challenging the young person is, the more planning and preparation will be needed.
Developmental Steps – only go so far!
Any one reading this who has any involvement with children with autism will know how challenging the learning process can be. We say ‘ assume competence’ – make no assumptions about what the child knows and don’t expect typical developmental stages! In fact expect to be surprised! Deliberately teach across developmental stages. Don’t wait for spoken language before introducing reading. Do no wait for reading before introducing writing and spelling. Do no wait for handwriting before introducing typing. Young people across the world who have benefitted from facilitated communication – usually supported by someone who really loves them – are constantly underlining this. Expect much – be creative – offer physical supports to overcome movement difficulties – do what it takes. Young people communicating wonderful poetry and prose by supported typing – who cannot use voice to speak – are changing our world. Are we ready for them? They are blowing developmental staging posts clean out of the water!! Colin Newton
The Power of Imitation
“Scientific observation has established that education is not what the teacher gives; education is a natural process spontaneously carried out by the human individual, and is acquired not by listening to words but by experiences upon the environment. The task of the teacher becomes that of preparing a series of motives of cultural activity, spread over a specially prepared environment, and then refraining from obtrusive interference. Human teachers can only help the great work that is being done, as servants help the master. Doing so, they will be witnesses to the unfolding of the human soul and to the rising of a New Man who will not be a victim of events, but will have the clarity of vision to direct and shape the future of human society” (Montessori, Circa.1905) Maria Montessori as far back as the 1900s was one of many educationalists who have argued for natural opportunities for children to learn from each other knowing the power of imitation. Adults should prepare the way but then step back and keep out of the way in her view as servants to masters. We could learn much from this perspective today in the traditional ‘special needs’ world that has grown up with all its dependencies, low assumptions and restrictions. This is why educating children in mainstream schools makes so much such educational sense quite apart from the human rights dimension. Children learn from each other by copying. Let us give them a great range of role models to help them develop communication, learning and social skills. In my experience children learn 80% of what they learn by imitation. In the previous chapter we outlined why we must not be confused by notions of intelligence and fixed potential. Such ideas limit our imaginations and sense of what is really possible. Colin Newton
Compass of Anxiety
It’s hard to find your way around the whole area of anxiety in children, adults and yourself. So here is a useful compass to help you. Some days the compass will spin, on others it will stay in one place and feelings and behaviour will go into extreme mode. This compass was inspired by work with people of all ages with autism who know the world of anxiety only too well! The increased activity area is probably the healthiest and most educational area if you have to be somewhere on the compass. People do things for a reason, not just because they have autism, behaviour labels or whatever. Anxiety is very often the reason for all kinds of behaviour that we can struggle with. Colin Newton
Jack Pearpoint and Marsha Forest designed The Four Questions exercise to help families, groups and organisations to get out of the trap of negative thinking. For example, an organisation kept asking the people they work with to tell them what was wrong, so they could improve. But the people told them everything was really OK. They knew some things weren’t right. Jack and Marsha suggested they ask a new set of questions.
- What are we doing well right now?
- What could we be doing better?
- What could we be doing differently?
- What can we do now (within 48 hours) to start doing things better and/or differently?
Read this article about how our perception of movement and sensory differences can change our perception of people diagnosed with autism/PDD and other related disabilities.
Read this paper written by Colin Newton about IQ and the implications of still using IQ scales to measure ‘intelligence’. These ideas are expanded further in ‘Keys to Inclusion’ 2011.
Updated in 2016 see here with some great questions for 15 year olds to ask!
Revolutionary common sense!!
“Disability is a natural part of the human experience.” When we internalise this belief and merge it with our common sense, we’ll create a new paradigm of disability. People with disabilities aren’t broken, and they don’t need to be fixed. When we change the way we think, speak, and behave-instead of trying to change people with disabilities-the world will change before our eyes.
This remarkable young man has been employed as a Learning Mentor by the Nottingham City LEA’s Achievement Team. He has spent most of his life looked after in Public Care. He has been there. He turns out to be great at including adolescent young men living in Community Homes, supporting their communication and reattendance at school.He is also a great trainer and friend of Inclusive Solutions! Read more about Philip in ‘Inclusion Now’ Vol 5, available from Alliance for Inclusive Education.
Check out the arguments in this paper by Colin Newton and Derek Wilson which draws upon DfES policies as well as research.
Bill Hubbard, New Zealand A low-intrusion restorative approach to bullying.Undercover Teams are a restorative adaptation of the influential and far-sighted work in the early 90’s of Barbara Maines and George Robinson of the UK. They labeled their support group approach to addressing school bullying as “No-Blame”. At the time and for years later, some people believed that this process was the single answer to school bullying that everyone had been looking for. Undercover Teams represent a unique tool that fits within the family of ‘restorative responses’. Undercover Teams are a ‘targeted approach to – repairing relationships. Viewed using a restorative perspective, Undercover Teams (UTs) may not be regarded by some practitioners as ‘fully restorative’ because the victims of bullying and the offending students are not brought face-to-face as part of the process however this fact alone should not undermine the worth of UTs. Rather, UTs can represent a niche process for supporting young people who may be fearful at the prospect of participating in a restorative conference situation. For students who have been bullied for much or all of their school lives, this can often be the case. Howard Zehr’s and Belinda’s wonderful paradigm for exploring how restorative your attitude to behaviour is, has to be worth a look!
Are bright lights, perfumed air, coloured bubbles and soft music the answer to the “apartheid” that people who have been described as having physical/learning disabilities/difficulties have been subjected to in Education and Community Living? Joe Whittaker and John Kenworthy, Bolton Institute for Higher Education explore the logic of Snoezelens…Is there any research to support their efficacy in special or mainstream settings? Perhaps great for special or mainstream staff or any pupil to relax in, but educational impact?? …..
People First Language
Impairment and disability: a world of difference Mole Chapman provides some really useful guidance around the vexed area of terminology. ‘Disabled people use the term ‘impairment’ to talk about their medical condition or diagnosis or description of their functioning. On the other hand, ‘disability’ describes the social effects of impairment. ‘Disability’ is not a description of a personal characteristic. A disabled person is not a ‘person with a disability’ as the person does not own the disability in the way that you might be ‘a person with brown hair’. Consequently, the opposite of ‘disabled’ is not ‘able-bodied’ or ‘abled’, but ‘non-disabled’ or ‘enabled’. Understanding the critical difference between these two terms allows us to talk separately and clearly about:
- a named individual = the person
- impairment = their functioning
- disability = society’s barriers’
So you might refer to a disabled child, not a child with disabilities…’. Email Mole Chapman to receive your own free copy of “Word Power – the art of respectful language” at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue Utley from Lambeth, London uses puppets to inspire us all!!
The Assistive Technology Boogie
A musical and educational treat!! A brief but informative look at the role of technology in the lives of disabled people.
We must take the long view in our planning for complex individuals however young they are.
‘What do you want to be when you grow up’?
How often have you heard this question asked of typical children? What was your own answer as a child to this question? However we so often will not ask this same question of disabled children and families will often say ‘we dare not think beyond today’ let alone into the long term future. So we go about planning for children with complex impairments as if they did not really have a long-term future and adulthood. We make major decisions such as placement in a special school or unit without having regard for the long term implications of such a move. The child when they do become an adult are greatly at risk of vulnerability and isolation from the wider community into which they find themselves a part, or not a part. We live in a society that does not have special shops or special bus stops…
What about a bit of blowing our own trumpets? The bugle and its five notes provides a fascinating metaphor. Simple but powerful. Does it work for you?
Need a good set of perspectives to help thinking move forward in a complex situation that is posing an inclusive challenge? Why not simply roll the die..
4 Principles of Embodied Presence Practice outlined by Arawana Hayashi (PDF- 40 pages)
Embodied Presence Practice (Word doc short)
Values of Behaviour Specialists
Check out the attached paper by John O’Brien and David Pitonyak
David is the most respected writer/thinker on issues of challenging behaviour and disability in North America, among inclusionists at least, but not widely known of in the UK.
The paper has an interesting approach to trying to link a ‘behaviour specialist’s’ underlying values and beliefs to their practice in the field – I think it could be an real learning activity to do something similar for an EP or other Support Service. At the very least it’s a good model of how to try and spell out what your values mean in practice.
Have a look at these websites that offer revision ideas. The first is Get Revising
The site allows you to Create a Revision Resource by using one of their tools to create a great revision resource. They not only help you to learn but re-using it and testing yourself helps too. You can also share the resource with others to help them learn.
The second are revision guidelines for parents and teachers of young people with autism spectrum disorders from The National Autistic Society. A link to the pdf can be found here.