Community-based day activities and supports for people with learning disabilities

Messages from 'Having a good day' - Good transition planning

What research tells us

Person-centred transition planning, backed up with assistance to access work, housing and support via individualised funding, helps young people to achieve more ordinary lives so that they do not require day services. Employment support is needed for people who do not meet eligibility criteria for local authority services but who are vulnerable if unoccupied during the day.

What's happening in practice at the moment

Pointers for development

Some practical recommendations

From: 'Improving work opportunities for people with learning disabilities' (2006)

Practice examples

'We have been part of the In Control pilot in Wigan to enable our eldest child Joe to get a better life and do more of the things 16-year-old lads like to do. Joe is an active young man who really enjoys lots of physical and robust types of activity. He finds staying in the house really difficult and likes to spend his time out and about. Joe isn't a young person who 'fits into' services but rather would like to design his own life with the people he chooses, at a time to suit him. Joe also would like to access education in a way that enables him to be supported by people who know him well.

'Through In Control we are designing his life in a way to suit him and in a way that supports him really well, from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night. Joe has started to recruit his staff and already is experiencing life changes. For the first time ever he is able to go out in the evenings and at weekends and do the things he wants to do. He goes to a gym, goes swimming and out for some long walks in the lakes and Rivington. In fact he has slept through the night for the first time in six months, his self-injurious behaviour is greatly reduced and we are able to start to wean him away from self-stimulating. I have always said that Joe needs lots of physical activity and by doing this means that his so-called "challenging behaviour" is greatly reduced.

'He has a team of four staff who work with him on a 2:1 basis. They are of varying ages, male and female (he has one man of the same age) and are predominantly from a youth service background. In the future Joe is going to have one consistent team that supports him through his educational day as well as his social and leisure life. Joe is currently educated out of the borough at a phenomenal cost. We want to use this funding far more efficiently by transferring his educational resource allocation into the whole pot managed by us, enabling him to go to a local college, get a part-time job through his own 'micro enterprise' and meet lots of new friends. The support will be managed through Joe's own trust which is supported by his family and circle of friends. The trust will be the employer and will assist Joe in recruiting staff, ongoing supervision and payroll as well as supporting him to do his monthly plan. This will be in partnership with the local authority that will ensure his plan meets all his educational needs as well as his social care assessed needs and will be reviewed at regular intervals.

As Joe gets older the trust will look at ways of Joe purchasing his own home and extending the staff team to support him there. This will mean his transition will be a progression for life rather than a big leap that has been forced upon him. Watch this space for exciting times ahead.'

From: ' In Control - person-centred approaches in action', Martin Routledge, Caroline Tomlinson, Simon Duffy, Helen Sanderson, Carl Poll, Julie Stansfield, Karen Flood and Julie Casey (members of the In Control national project group) in 'Living well', 5.l (April 2005), Pavilion Publishing

The Learning and Skills Council in Greater Manchester has worked with Trafford Local Authority, Community Learning Trafford, Future Visions, the local learning disability partnership, and Nextstep to develop and deliver a pilot business preparation course for adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, leading to establishment of a self-sustaining organisation led by adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The resulting organisation will provide awareness training on learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

From 'Learning for living and work: improving education and training opportunities for people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities', LSC (Oct 2006)

The Orchardville Society in Belfast ensures that young people aged 16-19 are regularly offered three work placements while still at school. This enables them to make an informed choice. One parent explained the advantages: ' He could make up his mind at age 19 - what is it you want to do? He found the office totally boring and didn't want to work there, and he chose the coffee shop. The parent had actually preferred the 'set up' in the office work, but she accepted his choice since he had tried the alternatives.

Links and resources

There is a huge amount of information around about improving transition.