A conversation, a time of discovery, not an assessment!

Last week I had another great day.  A day that also made me think again ‘why is something so simple often made so complicated?’  I text a colleague to share my thoughts and feelings.  She suggested I share them more widely so here I am.

As the Paradigm team travel the  country we are regularly saying that, Reach Support for LIVING, Individual Life Designs, Planning Together events, ARE ALL ABOUT a conversation, a discovery, not an assessment.   This story is an example of just that.

Here’s the text I sent….

“Hi there Jo,

I have to share this with you.  I had the most amazing couple of hrs with Karen, a 16 year old girl and her family today.

I was asked to meet Karen* and facilitate a plan to support her planning for when she leaves school.  When asked by the Local Authority to meet her the message was ‘we really want to try this but you’ll probably get nothing out of her.’  The young woman is in a residential school with 2:1 support, the family are confused by the lack of joined up thinking and action by education, health and social care.  They are understandably very concerned about the future.    When I arrived the parents seemed far from happy to meet me I could see them thinking ‘another b….y professional!’

It was beautiful.  Within the first 10 mins and with me having spoken of the love the family have for each-other, Mum was in tears.   Loving tears, tired tears, relieved tears.

The whole session, with a great link worker, support worker, and social worker there as well, turned into a positive gathering.  The young woman stayed for the whole time, cuddled next to Mum and Dad and when asked what was important to her about her family she said ‘Love and Kisses’.  Mum cried again.   There were laughs when the dream for the future was to be a ‘mad scientist’.  Who knows what could happen eh?  The posters really help guide the conversation in an engaging way.

It really so simple isn’t it? A real conversation.  Honesty, compassion, valuing of family, curiosity and intentional listening.

Mum and Dad said they haven’t experienced anything like it before and left determined to ensure their daughters voice is heard.

Great day BUT it will only remain great if that Karen and her family are supported by ALL the professionals involved to ensure something positive happens as a result of the time together.

See you tmw.  Sally x”

* Name changed.

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