HOW IS INCLUSION FACILITATION (IF) WORK DIFFERENT FROM TYPICAL SERVICE APPROACHES?
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT? – It is fundamentally important that we are clear about how the IF approach to support and planning differs from our more usual approaches. Making this distinction is not totally straightforward despite the fact that IF is a very different way of working with young people. A very large part of the challenge here has to do with moving from a needs or deficit model of disability to a human rights focussed and person centred model of disability. A perceived failure to make this shift is what was behind the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) Committee’s strong criticisms, in August 2017, of the lack of progress being made towards greater inclusion within UK educational settings. This particular observation relates to Article 24 of the Convention that sees access to inclusive education as one of the supporting pillars of a good life for disabled people.
This is not an easy or quick shift to make and that is why such high emphasis is given to the support and supervision of future IF workers. Put simply, the shift involves taking a person-centred approach to the support work involved in being an inclusion facilitator. That sentence is worth parsing so we can be clearer what is meant by ‘person- centred’ working. It’s very important to be super explicit here because ‘person centred’ is widely misunderstood as just being about getting a list of a young person’s views and preferences and maybe something about their aspirations. It has much deeper meanings that just those. It’s about inclusion and social justice and the belief that these are values worth aiming for even if progress is faltering and setbacks frequent. Here are some of person-centred working’s most important clauses, the ways in which its values are enacted:
- A starting point that says – there are many ways to be ‘normal’. This is about accepting young people exactly as they are at that time; recognising they are doing the best they can in the struggles they face with the resources they have and that they are not helped by being judged. But this is not a passive, or ‘anything goes’ way of supporting someone. It is also about wanting more for them, recognising they will all have gifts that are undeveloped and ungiven.
- Recognition that relationships are key in supporting growth and change. Many of the young people likely to be supported by IF work in the future will have relationship circles that are very empty, often just close family (a few) and paid people. Person–centred practice means relationship building and community connecting are bedrock activities for the IF worker (and understands that this doesn’t mean being part of a group where everyone shares the same label. This is why, when doing this work, we often end up saying ‘This young person needs more people in their life’. And whilst this sounds deceptively simple – it isn’t – IF work is about looking for potential relationships and supporting their development – it’s about community building and connecting
- There’s a focus on contribution, on what the young person has to offer others and a recognition that contribution comes in many forms, some of them unexpected
- That person centred working has within it a set of planning tools – e.g. PATH and MAPS – that reflect these underlying values
At the very least IF work has the potential to throw new light on situations that have become intractable from a medical model perspective; I’m thinking of those young people (often with more than one diagnostic label) who have withdrawn from any involvement with their wider world and peer group, who refuse to take their medications, who will not attend CAMHS appointments or go to support groups for similarly labeled individuals and whose carers are at risk of receiving labels themselves…
Inclusion Facilitation Job Description
Inclusion Facilitation is designed to create a better life for an individual by the provision of an intense input designed to being about social change. This usually entails a series of visits focused on getting the person out and about to increase confidence, social skills and presence in their local community and to pursue goals and dreams. Uniquely, the work is carried out under the close clinical supervision of a practicing psychologist.
Inclusion Facilitation aims to:
- To create a better life for the Individual.
- Give Individual and family a clear vision of a good life and to support first steps towards this
- To maximize individuals inclusion and connection with the wider community.
- To help with friendship, social connection and education
- To increase confidence, social skills and presence in their local community and to pursue goals and dreams.
How Does Inclusion Facilitation Work?
‘We do whatever it takes!’
An experienced psychologist alongside the inclusion facilitator would carry out the PATH. A large graphic will be one of the outcomes of the meetings this is a great visual record and a shared memory of the event. This will also inform the priorities for the inclusion facilitation work
Following the PATH event a ‘scoping report’ is created outlining what Inclusion Facilitation could offer and highlighting what dreams and goals the individual has.
The PATH is also provides a good opportunity for the Facilitator to meet the focus person in a comfortable positive environment.
8 weekly visits from the Inclusion Facilitator followed by 5 monthly visits is our preferred model but we can be flexible with the delivery of this input. This is just a guideline, however we have received good results using this time frame.
After this intensive input the Inclusion Facilitator will hand over to the existing family, carers and PA team to carry on where he or she has left off. This transition time is planned from the outset.
An experienced psychologist is there to support the facilitator at all times and will guide all work done by the inclusion facilitator.
Is this just Support work?
No! This is proactive engagement – doing whatever is required.
We are not just passively or reactively providing what is asked for – we are actively pursuing a good life for the individual.
Our work is built on careful research around a person’s interests and what opportunities exist locally
We carry out community mapping
We actively work to tackle an individual’s own resistance and reluctance to engage more socially
We actively engage with people in social settings that the individual attends to build bridges and connections – we are bridge builders
We build circles around a person
We create the conditions in which friendships can flourish
We have direct psychological supervision and support throughout
This work is short term and intense.
The facilitator’s aims will be to improve all aspects of the focus person’s life this may include:
- Pursuing the dreams and goals of the individual
- Improving social skills
- Being comfortable in social environments
- Developing conversational skills
- Having a positive mindset
- Staying physically active
- Building relationships
- Help in meeting new people
- Create natural circles of support
- Creating a community circle
- Creating business links
- Help with budgeting
- Having positive body language
- Employment of support staff
- Pursuing personal interests
The facilitator’s main aims will vary depending on the dreams and goals of the focus person. The basic aim of the inclusion facilitator is to better the focus person’s quality of life.
Phone: 0115 9556045 to talk this through.
CLICK HERE for a short report written by one of our Inclusion Facilitators, Louis.
Click Here for your download of ‘Common Threads CHANGING STORIES … STORIES OF CHANGE; a conference on Independent Facilitation, sponsored by The Ontario Independent Facilitation Network, by John O’Brien.
Training offered by following link below…