Person centred planning with energetic young people – the 10 Principles

He won’t sit still that long!

 How often do we hear those words when we describe a PATH or a MAP meeting likely to last up to 2 hours? This is particularly true of young people labelled with Autistic spectrum conditions (ASC), or attention deficit hyperactivity difficulties (ADHD) but often applied to those with social disadvantage, hyper-vigilant, learning or behaviour challenges. Often, they are boys but not always.

Previous meeting experiences and observations of the focus child in classrooms and other challenging situations lead those who know him best to suggest he has a short attention span and an inability to sit through a planning session.

Despite this we are regularly pleased to report that even very ‘energetic’ or highly energised youngsters can sit through very lengthy planning sessions with them if the following 10 principles are respected:

The 10 principles

  1. Built in breaks if needed – planned ahead and triggered if needed
  2. Pacy process session – be prepared to accelerate certain steps if youngster starts to get fidgety
  3. Changing use of physical space and posture regularly – work on different walls, different groupings – pairs, threes, 5s – on the floor, standing, sitting…
  4. Ensuring the planning fully includes and respects the young person – we are planning with them not about them
  5. Using personal interests in music, snacks, props and content of planning to fully engage and intrigue
  6. Props or other objects to legitimately fiddle with or hold such as a fun jargon buster chicken, a magic wand listening stick or just a squidgy ball
  7. Direct engagement with the graphic – opportunity to colour in or add images or words
  8. Use of music to demarcate different steps of process – planned carefully and with child’s musical tastes and selection where possible
  9. Clear outline of steps and timings – clarity
  10. Keep it real and where possible – fun!


With these principles in play be prepared to be amazed!  Let us know if you agree.


Contact Us

Colin Newton

0115 955 6045

Doug Newton

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