Involvement & Participation
Involvement & Participation
Voice and Choice
At Scottish Autism, we recognise that our supported individuals have something valuable to teach us. Across our services we aim to promote, support and empower supported individuals to use their voice. We do more than just listen: we validate and act upon an individual’s voice which goes toward helping them feel valued. Feeling valued is something we should all experience and is closely linked to wellbeing and self-esteem. When we are happy and content we are in a much better position to embrace positive emotions, to learn and be open to new experiences.
Scottish Autism is signed up to the Charter for Involvement which promotes guidance that we fully embrace. Written by the National Involvement Network (NIN), it sets out how supported people want to be involved in the support that they receive, in the organisations that provide their services and in the wider community.
The very essence of person centred support means that those accessing the service should be involved in the delivery of the service. We do this from the outset in the recruitment process where individuals have meaningful engagement in the recruitment and selection process. For example, our supported individuals have the opportunity to put forward questions for candidates in interview and be involved in developing person specifications. We also use a Staff Profile Tool to identify individual staffing choices and preferences so that we can match our supported people with suitable staff. This is followed through into personalised support plans which are based around an individual’s likes and interests. ‘Service User Forums’ are another example of how individuals can get involved in service delivery. We enable individuals to share their thoughts and experiences which can provide insights that prompt practitioners to re-evaluate their work and challenge traditional assumptions.
Our VIP (Values into Practice) model is at the heart of our practice and steers the ways in which we strive to ensure that every autistic person feels valued. It is important however that this model is reviewed by autistic people and by external bodies. This is currently underway and we look forward to receiving and incorporating the feedback we receive.
Centre for Practice Innovation
Our Centre for Practice Innovation provides a focus for practitioners, researchers and organisations who share our values to collaborate with us in order to learn from each other and contribute to the growing knowledge about what constitutes effective autism practice. Much of the work of the centre is linked to evidencing the importance of involving supported individuals in services. For example the ‘Practitioner Research Project’ has sought to capture evidence on the ways in which we can improve service user voice, participation and involvement in our services. The project has been undertaken by a team of practitioners from across our services.