How Person Centred Planning Changed My Life Alexander Warren Superb graphics curtsy of Helen of EDG
Me at 15 years old• I was at a Special Needs School and worried about my future.• I wanted to do a mainstream drama course, but didn’t know how to get there (in truth I had no real acting skills).• I wanted to be independent.• The school was encouraging me to do an “extension course”, which I didn’t want to do (Some of my friends did extension courses and they thought they were a waste of time. Its just a place to put them for another 2 years.)
My Frustrations• Mainstream Kids can choose there own courses, whereas special needs kids are pushed towards a limited set of options.• Special needs teachers are so frightened of us failing that they dont give us anything challenging.• How do they expect us to work hard at something we dont want to do?
My Person Centre Plan• EDG came to the School and explained about person centred planning, then offered it to any of the older kids in the school.• I volunteered and they did a person centred plan for me with a group of my family, my teachers and my friends.• There were various parts :- “My Story”, “Who is Alexander”, “My Dreams”, “My Nightmares”, “What is Needed Now” and “Action Plan”
“My Story”• This was the first time ever I’d gone through all my life.• We all realised that it was a big achievement to get where I was at the time. (When I was 1 year old a doctor said I would never walk, talk, read or write)• Everyone in the room had felt the experience was quite moving.• Before that meeting I was pretty down about myself, suddenly I thought I could achieve anything.
“Who is Alexander?”• I felt really warm because everyone said nice things about me, like – " brave " – "incredibly honest " – "tremendously empathetic" .
“My Dreams”• This was where I could express my wildest dreams, without anyone saying they were unrealistic.• Some of my dreams were: – going to acting school – a loving relationship – travelling on the bus on my own – going to town on my own to look around the shops or meet friends.
“My Nightmares”• They included :- – being homeless – not having any friends – a boring job
“My What’s Needed Now” and “My Action Plan”• These steps looked at the first steps towards my dreams. – Everyone was finally listening to me – I had a way forward towards something I wanted to do.
The Next 2 Years• At College I did a pathways art course, a pathways drama course and a mainstream drama course.• I started catching a bus to college on my own (a complicated route, changing buses at Princes Street).• I was also catching the bus into town to look around the shops and meet my friends.
... and Now• I regularly present my experiences to others with EDG as part of their “The Big Plan” course.• I’ve also worked with Enable as part of their course.
... and there’s more• I’m now doing a mainstream drama course at Carnegie College. I passed the 1st year and Im now in my 2nd year.• I have a girlfriend.
Person Centred Planning has changed my life around• It allowed me to express myself, sometimes with ideas I didnt even know I had.• It got me out of the rut that was special needs and extension courses.• It got me excited about my future and my prospects.• It got me trying harder to achieve my goals, rather than just going through the motions of life.• It gave me masses of confidence.