Is Anybody Listening? How Can Young People with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties influence their own Post School Transition Process?
University of Cambridge
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Chesworth, S. (2021). Is Anybody Listening? How Can Young People with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties influence their own Post School Transition Process? (Doctoral thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.70300
Is anybody listening? How can young people with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties influence their own post-school transition process? Susan Chesworth – candidate for EdD ABSTRACT This research project arose from my experience as head teacher of a special school. I observed that young people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) did not have an authentic voice in planning their post-school opportunities although government legislation states that young people should participate in their own post school planning. I regard this as a human rights issue. Prior literature tends to address transition issues for young people with special educational needs (SEN), not the specific issues of young people with PMLD. To have a voice it is necessary to have a method of communication. The current transition planning process provides little acknowledgement of the degree of communication difficulty experienced by people with PMLD. This project combines thorough investigation of transition planning processes and the use of innovative communication methods to give young people with PMLD an authentic voice. There are three in depth case studies of young people with PMLD at various stages of the transition process. In depth understanding of the communication of young people with PMLD is developed throughout the project using Intensive Interaction techniques. Alternative models of disability are explored including the development and application of the capability approach when planning with young people with PMLD. Grounded Theory principles are applied to the collection and analysis of data. The data confirm that transition documentation is not fit for purpose. The analysis of Intensive Interaction sessions with each individual reveal that the young people are able to share things that are important to them. These can become part of the transition process under-pinning the statutory requirements. The researcher reflective journal highlights the importance of self-awareness, sensitivity, creativity and innovation of people working with people with PMLD. The subject and object of the research are developed in tandem in a reflexive manner. Innovative methods enable the young people to have a voice and to participate in the research process. The outcomes from the project can be applied outside the research, complementing the recommendations and framework proposed by the Rochford Review (2016), which proposes providing for young people with PMLD to have greater autonomy in decisions that affect their lives, and thus empowering young people with PMLD. In that sense the project is emancipatory. The project dissemination will raise awareness at a local level; it also has national implications. These are important for parents, policy makers and practitioners. Dissemination will be undertaken in a variety of formats to enable the engagement of a wide and varied audience. For policy makers and some professionals, outcomes will be presented through a variety of journal articles and conference presentations. Plans are underway to create a drama workshop designed for parents, practitioners and for young people in order to ensure impact for these stakeholders.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.70300
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