Last year, I was introduced to an exciting new concept for "living" One Page Profiles - using video and other media and updateable online using a Wiki
Wikis are simple, accessible, secure and easy to build personal websites. They can be used to create multimedia person-centred plans that use pictures, words, video and sound to capture the voice, skills, aspirations and needs of the individual. Wikis give ownership of the planning process to individuals and families , facilitating genuine collaboration between parents, teachers and professionals. RIX Wikis can also be used as public websites to provide information about the Local Offer in a simple, accessible online format.
At Swiss Cottage School's SEND conference, I met Gosia Kwiatkowska, of RIX Research and Media at the University of East London who was demonstrating the system with Ajay Choksi, a young man who had made his own Wiki and who is now working as a Technical Associate at Rix.
Gosia has written for SNJ to explain to us all about how using their wiki puts the family or young person themself in control of their own information to promote person-centred practice.
Using RIX Wikis to implement EHC plans
The SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Reforms, launched in September 2014, introduced a system of support which focuses on positioning children and young people (aged 0-25) at the heart of planning and decision-making. They and their parents and carers must be able to participate in this process, putting the new Education, Health and Care Plans (ECHP) into place through person-centred practice and co-production with their education, health and care professionals. The focus is on support to improve outcomes for children and young people rather than simply provision of support.
These reforms demand that support professionals work together with children, young people and their families to ensure they have choice and control over their futures and enjoy full, healthy and active lives. It requires not only a legal but a cultural change. The round-table event at the Department for Education hosted by the SEND Minister, Ed Timpson, earlier this month highlighted that there are many challenges, including the necessary culture change, that still need to be tackled by local authorities and health services in implementing these reforms.
At RIX, we have been working with a group of parents who have children aged between 4 and 19 with varying disabilities and complex needs, all of whom either had an EHCP or were in the process of an EHCP, and all of whom confirmed that their child’s views were not sought during their EHCP process. Only one parent confirmed that her child had been invited to their Annual Review (and stayed for two minutes); for the majority, their child had never been invited. We wanted to explore how a multimedia approach to self-advocacy and using the RIX Wiki tool could improve their experience and participation in the EHCP process.
What is a Wiki?
One of the parents working with us on this has captured her thoughts and experience of using a RIX Wiki in helping to ensure that her son, four-year old Toye, has all the necessary support to help him meet the challenges of his particular needs. Toye’s mum talks about the specific areas of his communication, his behaviour and his need for a daily sensory diet. Crucially, she explains how sharing this information with his school staff and other support professionals will, she believes, help Toye to achieve his potential as, “...they see Toye first and his autism second.” His milestones and achievements are recorded and celebrated. Toye’s family have all participated and use the Wiki to share their perspectives. Check out Toye's story on his own wiki
Looking at the videos and photographs on the Wiki and analysing Shane in different settings, the people [at his review meeting] would get a feel for his personality…and then the type of planning I want for my son would happen. Sam Goncalves, Parent
RIX Research & Media
RIX Research & Media is an international centre of excellence, based at the University of East London. As a non-profit R&D centre, we have worked for over 15 years to transform the lives of people with learning disabilities, their families and carers, by developing and exploiting new multimedia technologies.
Pioneering research projects in the UK and Europe, in partnership with thousands of individuals with SEN, their families and supporters, have enabled us to develop a unique Multimedia Advocacy approach to support people with learning disabilities in those areas they may find hardest – organising their thoughts, remembering things and communicating and sharing their lives with others. This self-made media and self-advocacy enables them to take greater control of their own lives and challenge their social exclusion.
We have developed specific tools and training – the RIX Wiki and Wiki courses - which embody this Multimedia Advocacy approach for person-centred planning. In this short video clip, Claire Watts gives her view on using a RIX Wiki which, she says, shows her son Alfie as a person. “He is not a number on a list, he is not name on a file - he is a real little boy with a good sense of humour.”
RIX Wikis have now been adopted by around ten Local Authorities and over 100 schools and organisations in the UK, EU, US and Australia to embed person-centred approaches. These services and organisations are actively working with RIX Wikis to support individuals with special educational needs and disabilities to live the lives that they want to lead.
We are continually testing and evaluating how people are working with RIX Wikis, to improve and refine the technology. In October we launched a new format that means RIX Wikis work across all platforms and on any device, whether laptop, tablet or smart-phone. Additional functionality is now available, such as text to speech.
Currently, RIX Wikis are available to families through their Local Authority or School, to support them in the EHCP process. However you can express an interest now for a personal wiki