My Independence programme boosts PMLD learner’s confidence and community engagement
My Independence is a suite of four certificated programmes for young people with special educational needs working from pre-Entry level to Entry level 3 and was developed in partnership with the National Development Team for Inclusion. The key aims of the My Independence programmes are to raise aspirations and address the needs of young people with learning difficulties through meaningful and creative learning opportunities.
Private Tutor, Hannah Thomas, shares how My Independence has given 20-year-old Abby the confidence to live a more independent life.
A flexible, tailored curriculum
“Abby’s goal is to live as independently as she possibly can,” Hannah says. “We had already used some of ASDAN’s Towards Independence modules, but needed a flexible programme that I could personalise to fit Abby’s needs and meet her personal goals. I researched other programmes but couldn’t find anything that matched what we were looking for, but then I found the My Independence Supporting Aspirations programme.”
The four courses in My Independence provide an engaging curriculum for a wide range of young people with SEND. They include:
- Exploring Aspirations: for learners aged 11–14
- Transforming Aspirations: for learners aged 14–16
- Realising Aspirations: for learners aged 14+
- Supporting Aspirations: for learners with PMLD, all ages as appropriate
“The flexibility of My Independence meant that I could create a bespoke package for Abby that suited her specific needs. It gives Abby more choice in her daily activities and she’s able to plan her own way of working. It’s given her a sense of control over her own learning.”
My Independence enables Abby to have more control over her daily activities.
Building confidence and independence
“Abby’s learning difficulties mean that she is mainly non-verbal. My Independence enables me to tailor the curriculum in a way that helps Abby interact in different ways. She’s taken to it 100%,” Hannah says. “since starting My Independence, Abby’s become a lot more co-operative. You can visibly see that she’s enjoying the activities and that she’s becoming more independent.”
My Independence courses have been developed around the four preparing for adulthood pathways. These are:
- Friends, relationships and community
- Good health
- Independent living
Hannah and Abby worked together on the Friends, Relationships and Community, and Good Health pathways, which include modules such as My Relationships, My Healthy Lifestyle, Understanding my Behaviour, and My Sensory and Physical Wellbeing.
“A lot of ASDAN’s curriculum encourages learners to engage with their community,” Hannah says. “Abby has joined a new music group, which she particularly enjoys. They sing together, make rhythms and do karaoke. She’s also joined a sports club and started hydrotherapy swimming.
Abby's confidence has developed since taking part in My Independence activities.
“Abby’s confidence and communication in groups has grown through taking part in My Independence activities and she’s been able to build new friendships.
“ASDAN’s Good Health pathway has helped Abby become a lot more physically independent,” says Hannah. “We’ve started to incorporate ASDAN activities into her physiotherapy plan and her carers are also understanding more about her physical needs. It feels great that we’re all working together to help Abby be as independent as she can be.”
Creative and adaptable resources
My Independence programmes include tutor guidance and resources, including a person-centred planning toolkit, an online progress tracker, resource packs, learner records and certificates.
“ASDAN provides a portfolio of resources with lots of unique and creative ideas that I use all the time,” says Hannah. “For example, making our own instruments from recycled goods.”
“ASDAN is so tuned into working with people with additional needs,” says Hannah. “The person-centred planning toolkit is really helpful and I’m able to pass resources, like the communication charts, across to Abby’s care team so that we all have a consistent approach in meeting Abby’s needs.
Hannah uses ASDAN's My Independence resources and planning toolkit to tailor the programme to Abby's needs.
“I really enjoyed ASDAN’s My Independence training webinars, they were incredibly helpful and it was brilliant to be able to engage with others delivering the course. Supporting Aspirations matches Abby’s needs perfectly, her parents are really happy. Prior to My Independence, I had a look at other programmes, but there was nothing that quite hit the spot. I love ASDAN, it’s just all there. You can hit every target and tailor it for your clients. It’s been great and I’ll definitely be delivering My Independence for as long as I can.”
Next academic year, Hannah and Abby aim to focus on the remaining preparing for adulthood pathways as they start to explore the world of work and develop Abby’s skills in independent living.