Person centred active support increased choice making opportunities for people with learning disabilities


We have posted previously about the use of active support which involves training staff in working practices and organisational procedures to improve levels of participation and increase levels of engagement in activities.

The purpose of the current study however was to look at the impact of active support approaches on other outcome measures.

The researchers worked with 30 people described as having severe and profound learning disabilities, all of whom lived in small group home settings. They used observational methodology and staff-rated measures, to look at the impact of person-centred active support on their lives.

They found that there were significant increases in the amount of assistance people received as well as in the quality of that assistance and that these changes went alongside significant increases in engagement, participation and choice-making opportunities.

They also discovered significant reductions in challenging behaviour and in particular, self-stimulatory behaviour.

Person-Centred Active Support – Increasing Choice, Promoting Independence and Reducing Challenging Behaviour, Beadle-Brown, J , in Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 25: 291–307.

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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