Structured skills development for adults with learning difficulties

In May 2012, The Richardson Partnership for Care became an officially-recognised accreditation centre with ASDAN – the Awards Scheme Development Accreditation Network. The organisation provides courses to thousands of training providers, which offer flexible ways to accredit skills development and enrichment activities.

For service users with learning difficulties, ASDAN offers the flexibility to complete modules in different ways according to each individual’s abilities, preferences and concentration levels. It also means that service users can gain accredited qualifications in a familiar environment, working with people that they know and trust.  Receiving a certificate for their efforts also provides a sense of achievement and fulfilment, which often encourages them to progress to further learning and qualifications.

As Arts & Crafts is a popular activity within our homes for adults with learning difficulties, we started the ASDAN programme with the Creativity module. This has led onto modules in Independent Living (Introduction and Progression levels) and Numeracy Skills (Introduction and Progression levels). Sallie Maris, our ASDAN Co-ordinator finds creative ways to encourage the service users to participate in the modules and gain new skills. For example, learning numeracy skills may involve baking a cake, dividing it into segments and sharing it with others. We are now starting modules called ‘Myself and Others’ and ‘Personal Care Routines’.

Evidence must be provided for each task and assessments for each module are independently verified. Each individual is awarded a ‘grade’ for their module as follows: Experience recorded, Sensory experience, Physical help, Spoken help, No help. These ‘grades’ ensure that people with disabilities can still be treated fairly and their qualifications properly accredited.

The scatter diagram below shows the ASDAN qualifications obtained by service users with learning difficulties in Creativity and Independent Living, where 1 represents ‘Experience Recorded’ and 5 represents ‘No Help’.

ASDAN awards for adults with learning difficulties

Admissions And Referrals Team Complete ASDAN Training

The Admissions Team attended ASDAN Training in August this year, and wanted to share the experience with you our Blog readers.

As you may know, Richardsons became a centre for ASDAN back in May. ASDAN is a charitable social enterprise with awarding body status which provides programmes and qualifications to accredit skills for learning, skills for employment and skills for life.

Our team worked in groups with care staff from all of our Homes to complete sections of the Independent Living Module with a specific Service User in mind so that they could think about how they would complete the record boxes. The “record boxes” are used to reflect: the Service User’s achievements; the level of support they received; and the skills that they used. (These boxes are also then used later on to provide evidence and refer to other sections within the accreditation process.)

The types of activities the Service User may need to evidence in this Independent Living module are things like making breakfast or making a hot drink. The ASDAN programmes are brilliant in that you can simulate an activity like making a hot drink and the person (Service User) could use cool water and perform the task out of the kitchen (at a table for example) so that they still engage and achieve making a drink, but in a way that manages the risk of them being in the kitchen or around hot water. After a simulated task has been completed, our staff can then replace the simulated drink with an actual drink so that effectively the person has made their own drink in a safe way.

ASDAN recognises the level of support that people need to complete an activity which is very helpful when trying to reflect the level of skill which the Service User can achieve.

To the Admissions Team (Sian, Louise, Bill and Diane) ASDAN means that they can speak plausibly to people about specific ways in which a potential Service User could engage with the ASDAN activities. It also means that we can actively promote ASDAN as an essential part of an activity schedule within our Homes. As a team…we are also able to support a particular Service User in a particular situation with their activities, because we have also been trained alongside with the care staff in the Homes. (We are all based at The Mews, so we engage with Service Users daily.)

What we love about ASDAN is that it demonstrates that intensive residential care services can still promote and support people to maintain, gain and regain independent living skills in the most tailored and person-centred way. This fits in nicely with our ethos of person-centred care.

Louise Pittam, the Admissions and Referral Team manager (right) says that “It has made us aware that there is always something a Service User CAN do, through task simulation. Everyone should have this opportunity.”

If you would like to find out more about our person-centred care, or indeed about the ASDAN programmes we run, please feel free to give us a call on 01604 791 266. ASDAN are also on Twitter if you would like to follow them there.