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Complex Needs Learning History

Author: John O'Brien

The path towards personalised or individualised support and away from institutional services remains too little trod. It is therefore immensely valuable to bring together the collective wisdom of some of the international pioneers of these approaches.

John O'Brien's paper captures some of the multiple perspectives from Learning Institute supported by New York State and the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies at a series of events in 2016. Content included perspectives from:

  • Beth Mount & Hanns Meissner - Creating Blue Space as a condition of Transformational Change
  • Michael Kendrick - The Good Life as purpose & measure of quality
  • Carol Blessing - Person-centered planning as a way to guide people to live their full citizenship as contributors to community life
  • David Pitonyak - The neurophysiology of much of what is often labeled challenging behavior
  • George Braddock - Creating physical environments that work for people with complex needs
  • Jeff Strully - 20 year perspective on the transformation of group homes & day services for people with classic autism into individualised supports
  • Chris Lyons - Demonstration that managing organizational risk and liability and providing individualized, self-directed supports are not mutually exclusive
  • Joe MacBeth - Direct Support as an emerging profession with an Ethical Code and process for certification whose members are essential to individualized supports
  • Learning Journey to Family Lives - Values driven individualised supports to young people with complex needs for nursing, most of whom live in their family homes
  • Michael Kennedy - The impacts of institutionalisation • The perpetuation of the institutional experience in group homes & day programs

Not only were these leading practitioners able to share perspectives they were also able to engage in a dialogue about the challenging times that so many now face. Not only the economic restrictions that come with austerity, but also the controls and regulation which starts to exclude meaningful dialogue and creativity.

Despite these challenges the Institute also stands as testimony to the important progress that has been made in the USA and these lessons will ring true for many in other countries also.

Read and download the free pdf in your browser here.

The publisher is John O'Brien.

NYSACRA Learning Institute on Innovation and Individualized Supports for Persons with Complex Needs © John O'Brien 2016.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.