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Big Plans: A guide for meaningfully engaging people with learning disabilities in the development of their plans

Published: Humanly, July 2018

This toolkit was developed by Humanly to support sites in the Named Social Worker programme, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and run in Partnership by Innovation Unit and the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

What this toolkit is for

The aim of this toolkit is to support social workers in working with people with learning disabilities and/or autism to plan for important moments in their lives, for example transition into adulthood or moving out of hospital back into the community.

This toolkit includes suggested activities for meaningfully engaging individuals with learning disabilities in the development of a plan that meets their needs. These activities are designed as hands-on, creative methods to get to know individuals’ experiences, preferences and aspirations.

Who to use this toolkit with

The process and methods outlined in this toolkit have been designed to be suitable for a wide range of people with learning disabilities and/or autism, including people with complex needs and non-verbal communication. It can be used with young people or adults. In order to best fit the needs of individuals, it is suggested that specific activities are adapted to their communication needs and preferences.

How this toolkit has been developed

The process outlined in this toolkit was co-created by Humanly and Shropshire Council. The activities have been developed based on research and co-creation techniques tried and tested with people with learning disabilities by Humanly, as well as existing research and reports. A list of additional resources is included in Appendix 1, which include further guidance and suggestions for activities.

Everyone supporting a person with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) must acknowledge the importance of communication as a basic human right. They must also know how to support them to understand and express their thoughts, preferences and choices as far as they are able.

This includes respecting that a person who might be unable to communicate intentionally has the right to be listened to and communicated with in ways appropriate to them.

Raising Our Sights, Mencap and PMLD Network