Review: Personalisation in Practice

Personalisation in Practice: Supporting Young People with Disabilities through the Transition to Adulthood – Suzie Franklin and Helen Sanderson


I recently moved jobs – out of Special Education and into work that’s based with teenagers and adults in the community. The job is more responsibility, less hours, more pay. All of that is brilliant. It just meant I had to do some reading up on areas that I didn’t know as much about. Like person-centred planning.

This book follows one invidiual, Jennie Franklin, and the transition into adulthood with the help of her family and ‘circle of support’. Franklin and Sanderson guide you through a brief background story, and then straight into explanation both of and how they used person-centred planning, reviews and tools to successfully support Jennie into living independently in a flat she part owns. The book discusses the work involved in getting the house sorted, preparing Jennie for the transition, employing staff to help support Jennie every day, and how they resolved any problems that arose.

We thought about lots of housing options for Jennie. The first was private renting, but we discounted this because it wouldn’t be Jennie’s place and a landlord could sell up at anytime and ask Jennie to leave. She would need continuity and syability wherever she was going to live. We also looked at council housing but, bearing in mind how vulnerable Jennie is, we were concerned about the areas she might be offered.

My experience of person-centred planning has always been for students at primary school age, and none of them have covered issues such as what will happen when the student “ages out” of services…although after reading this book I think they probably should have. I also learnt that the person-centred reviews that I attended were not as person-centred as they should have been, nor were staff supported in involving the students as much as they could have been.

The book provides photocopiable resources as well as links to websites and YouTube pages with even more resources (Helen Sanderson Associates is an excellent place to start) and brief descriptions of person-centred tools and how to use them for different situations. The book focuses on Jennie and her particular situation, but includes enough information and talks about the examples in such a way that it’s easy to understand how you can adapt these person-centred tools for people of any age. Person-centred planning can seem daunting initially, and I know some organisations are either reluctant to commit fully to it or if they do try and do it – don’t do it quite right (like my old setting). This book offers a clear and straightforward guide to how person-centred planning can be used to give someone as much independence as possible.

Worth reading?

If you have a disability, or there is an individual with a disability in your family, or you in some way support a disabled individual (education, social care, therapy) then yes – especially if you don’t know that much about person-centred planning

Value for money?

Between £10-12 new: if you already know quite a bit about person-centred planning then perhaps not; if you know very little and will be using it regularly then yes.

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