Strengths and Needs

In 2006 I heard Penny Lacey (University of Birmingham) talk about working with people with PIMD. Penny talked about a simple approach of doing a strengths and needs profile of the person. The way I remember it (though I am not sure it is 100% correct), needs was NOT a euphamism for weakness, but “what does this person need in order to be the best person they can be”. So somebody with a vision impairment may have a need for people to sit 25 cm from the person’s face, or need objects to be held to the left or right side, or interaction partners not to sit in front of bright windows in order to avoid looking into glare. I really like this approach of looking at what we need to do to support a person best.
David Wareing spoke last week at the ASSID Conference in Melbourne about his “shaking up the house” work. He also talked about a strengths and needs model, but he used a more systematic, but dynamic, means to determine the person’s needs in the areas of cognition, communication, movement and other areas.
I think both of these approaches have much to offer for supporting high quality services for people with PIMD.

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