Achieving for Children (AfC) is a social enterprise company set up by Kingston and Richmond Councils to provide targeted help and support to children and families in need within the two London boroughs. It has partnered with RIX Research & Media to pioneer the use of Multimedia Advocacy and the RIX Wiki tool and training to embed person-centred approaches which, it believes will be invaluable in implementing the new Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) for those with learning disabilities in the area.
James Mannion, Business Systems Project Manager for AfC, said, “We want to empower our children and young people who face challenges because of their communications difficulties, to show how they can use Wikis to get across their preferences and viewpoints by using pictures, sounds, video and words – to give them a voice and enable them to take control of their lives. We call this multimedia advocacy.
“We want people to take a full and active role in the EHCP process, and we believe that using Wikis will lead to genuine collaboration between parents, teachers and professionals.”
AfC hosted an event in October last year to show children, parents, carers and teachers in the learning disability community how Multimedia Advocacy and the RIX Wiki can support them. After the event, James asked parents and carers to share their comments which are highlighted below. The feedback is critical in ensuring the roll out of Wikis within the borough is effective.
How do you think you might use Wikis?
“I think I could develop a Wiki for /with my autistic Son and use it to collate a full picture of his strengths, aspirations and difficulties.”
“Collecting information from a child/young person’s perspective for Section A of an EHC plan.”
“I like it as a tool to make my son visible to service providers, e.g. local authorities, SAL, and other therapies. And perhaps it can be a campaigning and advocacy tool?”
“As a place for our child to see and celebrate his many successes and friendships.”
“amongst family and professionals to have a greater understanding of my child when he can’t always express things himself for his needs.”
What do you see as the benefits of using Wikis?
“not having to explain how my child is affected by his condition to everyone all the time”
“It is my son in his environment and snapshots of his actual life and not a piece of paper that service providers get to see. He might find it very empowering to be involved in creating this.”
“The wiki presents as a user friendly, up to the minute way of engaging a child/young person in the process of creating their EHC plan in a positive meaningful way, without appearing an overwhelming, bureaucratic or overly corporate process in which they may feel they don’t belong.”
As a result of the event, there are a further four schools who want to lead the way using Multimedia Advocacy and RIX Wikis and there are also two families who want to use Wikis for their annual reviews.
AfC is also taking further the use of RIX Wikis in Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans. Instead of using a conventional Section A of an EHC plan, parents and carers could use a Wiki instead of the form to convey the views, interests and aspirations of the child or young person.
This is an exemplar of a new EHC plan template that has been posted on AfC’s Local Offer website https://www.afclocaloffer.org.uk/.