Towards Independence – Learning through ASDAN

Circle of SupportEach individual has a Circle of Support which co-ordinates the assessment, planning, implementation and regular review of the support plan including the person’s flexible daily activity schedule.

The activities are selected to reflect what each individual is motivated by and enjoys doing and also to promote ongoing learning and the development of life skills.

As well as promoting greater engagement and independence these skills are also an important part of reducing behaviours of concern that can restrict the person’s opportunities.

The individual’s learning, where appropriate, can be delivered and celebrated through the use of the ASDAN Towards Independence Learning modules.

We are a recognised organisation to deliver both AQA Unit Award Scheme and ASDAN Towards Independence Programme.

Linzi Holt, one of our senior specialism leaders, is the recognised scheme co-ordinator for both. As a member we must comply with their procedures.


Towards Independence

What is it?

“Towards Independence” provides a framework of activities through which personal, social and independence skills can be developed and accredited for those with severe learning difficulties (SLD) and profound multiple learning difficulties (PMLD).

Who is is for?

Post-16 learners

“Towards Independence” can be undertaken at colleges, residential homes, schools, day and care centres and across local authority and private provision.


Towards Independence offers formal recognition for small steps in achievement towards a larger goal.

Modules can be used separately and accumulated to build a record of personal achievements.

There are almost 50 different modules to choose from, and the first of these – Starting Out – is mandatory.  Working through Starting Out allows learners to be helped to recognise achievements and plan targets and challenges, which can then be developed through further modules.

Learning at Liaise – Over recent months learners at Liaise have been working on modules such as Making Pictures, Getting Ready to Go Out, Meal Preparation and Cooking, and Multi-Sensory Experiences

Starting Out works well at Liaise as it is a good practical Assessment and planning tool, and works well alongside other assessments such as the IABA La Vigna & Willis Behaviour Assessment Guide (BAG)or Liaise’s information gathering tool for person centred planning, “What’s Important To ….”








Safeguarding Six Principles

In May 2013, the Department of Health published the government’s policy on adult safeguarding.  This outlined the 6 key principles for use by local SAB (safeguarding Adult Boards).

These 6 principles describe in broad terms, the outcomes for adult safeguarding, for both individuals and organisations.

These principals have also been incorporated into the Care Act 2014 statutory guidance and should inform safeguarding practice at the local levels.

The 6 principles are


 What do each of these mean for the adult at risk?

  • Empowerment – To be asked what they want as the outcome from the safeguarding process
  • Prevention – To be given clear and simple information about what Abuse is, how to recognise the signs and what they can do to seek help
  • Proportionality – to be confident that professionals will work for the adult at risk best interest
  • Protection – To be given help and support to report abuse. And to be able to get support to take part in the safeguarding process to the extent to which they want to and are able to
  • Partnership – To know that their support team will treat any personal and sensitive information in confidence, only sharing what is necessary. To feel confident that professionals will work together to get the best result for the adult at risk
  • Accountability – That they are informed and have a understanding of the role of everyone involved in their life

What does this mean for people we support many who do not have capacity? 

work-with-us-topFirstly it is important to remember that our service users must be assumed to have capacity to make their own decisions and be given all practicable help before they are consider not to be able to make their own decisions (Mental Capacity Act 2005).

If a person has been assessed to lack capacity to make a decision, a best interest decision must be made.

We adopt the ‘no decision about me without me’ principles and this means that the service user, their families and carers and other professionals work together to find the right solutions to keep the person safe and to support them in making informed choices.

Marika 3! A New Single Person Unit

It might not be the most exciting name at the moment, but it is going to be a life changing project for one of the people we support.

In our continual drive towards increasing personalisation, we are building a one person, self contained unit in the grounds of Marika House.

This been designed specifically for one of the people who live in the main house. They have been having increasing problems sharing the main house with other people, but really wanted to stay.

So, after a lot of conversations with everyone, getting planning permission and finally, approval by building control, work has started!

It will be a little bit of madness around the home for the next 20 weeks. We will be minimising the effects for all and hoping for a dry summer.

So, the trucks and diggers are moving on to the site…

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And the hole for the foundations has started to be dug…

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And a fence to keep everyone safe.

Follow us on facebook to keep up with the developments over the next few months.


Our Work in Zambia – Supporting children with special needs

DSCN1603Zambia one of the poorest countries in the world situated north of South Africa and south of the Sahara Desert. Zambia was once a British colony but has been independent for fifty years – but struggles to provide health care and education with limited numbers of professionally trained people.

It is usual for example to have one teacher with a class of 95 junior age children. Interestingly the children learn as well as children in the UK as they are desperate to have an education.

Marion was asked to go and give some support to the school which is in the grounds of the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and there are around 250 children in the school with various disabilities and especially autism, cerebral palsy and hearing impairment. The school is staffed with teachers who have some training and it is common for them to have 30 children in a class with no assistants at all. Imagine that in this country!

Marion, Deborah, Georgina and Joanne have been there to give the teachers extra training and especially in communication,  positive behaviour support, classroom management, and PROACT-SCIPr-UK®.

Interestingly they do not need much training in physical interventions as the children are generally well behaved and compliant. However they do need lots of support in understanding autism, how to communicate using pictures and signing, and how to organise their days in school.

We have used some ideas from TEACCH to help with organising areas of the classroom to be for specific activities such as a story corner, a sensory area, water play, music activities, and an area for the class to take part in group activities.

We have spent time teaching the staff how to make equipment using boxes and packaging which are free – and it is great to see how inventive the teachers can be with lots of games and story books and bags to help equip the little library we have set up for them.

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Two teachers are now attending university to get qualified in special education and we have been asked to work with the university on our net visit. We now have six teachers who are PROACT-SCIPr-UK® instructors.

Our fundraising both at Loddon and Liaise help with the expense of travel to Zambia and also the cost of the University courses. The Rotary Club of Basingstoke Deane has helped us with these fees and the repair of the school’s minibus. The teachers could not afford the training without our help as everything is very expensive and most people live on low income and many on ‘the dollar a day’.

Kidsfrom UTH-4One little boy in the school has serious difficulties with autism and for the past three years we have only seen him running around and trying to get hold of mobile phones. But on our last visit he wrote a note to us saying ‘I want the book please’ meaning the iPad.

Staff had recently observed him writing and asking for things – we never know what is going on with our children so need not be surprised if they suddenly show that they can read and write. No one had taught him and he really enjoyed working on Joanne’s iPad! He has a wide vocabulary and although not able to talk can now write down what he wants and needs.

IMG_0136Peter has cerebral palsy and cannot support his body at all –  but is very clever – but has no specialist equipment to help him! In the UK he would be in school with lots of technology aids and a teaching assistant.

We have just managed to get him a laptop and he is working on it with his brothers – so some real freedom for him. At the beginning he was just lying on the concrete class room floor facing the wall – not very stimulating!

There is much to do, but the teachers are keen and excited by all we are able to share with them. and as the  teachers learn now to give added skills to the children so the children will learn and have a better chance in life. Education is so important – without it the country will never succeed.

‘It is better to teach a man to fish than to give him fish to eat’

If you want to help talk to Marion and she will give you some ideas of way you can help the project.

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Our values

Not long ago a group of co-workers sat around in a room and tried to pull together what the values are for Liaise. Now, this might sound easy, but it isn’t! We all “knew” what Liaise stood for, but refining it down to a few words that are quickly meaningful to others took a bit of work.

You might wonder why we wanted to write them down because if everyone “knew” anyway? Because it helps us stay focused on them.

What we came up with was:

  • Positive
  • Empowering
  • Open

These provides us with a check-list to reflect on when we are writing something for co-workers, or even when writing this blog

It is a starting point when we want to look at developing new opportunities for co-workers and for the organisation. When we look at developing projects, we can use them to make sure that both the idea and the implementation match out values.

Our Values are the principles that we want to underpin everything that we do and how we do it.

We are Positive

This means that we:

  • Engage with and manage co-workers positively
  • Respect everyone’s contributions
  • Focus on the positive in those we support

We are Empowering

This means that we:

  • Create a positive learning culture
  • Enable people to take responsibility
  • Give people opportunities for personal growth

We are Open

This means that we:

  • Ensure all our communications are easily understood
  • Embrace our duty of candour
  • Have clear, shared goals