Person Centred Practices (PCP)

person centred practices

Person Centred Planning is about putting the individual at the centre of their life, giving them the power and choices that we all enjoy. They are responsible for driving the decision making in what they seek to do and achieve. As a Disability organisation, we must listen intently, absorb the feedback of individuals, and ensure we create programs that clearly reflect the lifestyle choices that our clients and supported employees desire. Whilst we can provide advice and give suggestion, we cannot dictate the process and must let the individual express their needs, wants and aspirations.

Person Centredness is not a new strategy or a recent fad but a whole way of thinking regarding the people we support and how we help them to express and realise, with the support of their families and friends, the lives they choose. It is a constantly evolving process, where the individual can regularly refine and set new goals as their skills, experiences and ambitions change. A big part of the Person Centred Approach is that all people have a right to be included equally in community life. Person Centred approaches include looking outside the service and internal staff for meaningful and enjoyable ways in which our clients can participate in the community. To understand what the person desires in their life, both within and outside the service, PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope) is a tool used to support a person in living their dreams.

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Windgap recognised that to roll out a comprehensive Person Centred Approach, we could use some advice. We enlisted the expertise of The Centre for Disability Studies (CDS) at the University of Sydney to facilitate a Champions Program which educates and supports staff, clients and supported employees to initiate a culture of Person Centred thinking. Champion positions were offered to all Windgap staff, clients, supported employees and families. From the expressions of interest, 22 people were chosen across the organisation to participate in several two-day workshops with CDS to learn about Person Centred Approaches and how to support their peers and clients in this cultural shift.

The PCP Champions learnt great skills such as: how to facilitate small group meetings, relationship building, understanding person centred planning tools, active listening and conducting solution circles. These skills developed during these learnings will help in all aspects of Windgap in supporting our clients as well as creating opportunities for deeper job satisfaction.

Windgap is very excited by the prospects for all our clients in this holistic approach to their lives and we look forward to discovering more about the people we support whilst walking with them in their life journey.



Steven Cooke

person centred 4In 2013, Steven Cooke eagerly put his hand up to join the second ‘Making Airwaves’ program hosted by The Windgap Foundation and Eastside Radio. The program teaches participants how to produce, host and record their own radio show which is later broadcast on Eastside radio 89.7FM. It became clear in the first session that Steven had a strong passion, enthusiasm and flare for radio. In his first broadcast he spoke out about a lack of disabled parking for the annual sculptures by the Sea event, demonstrating to his listeners the power of radio as a means to be heard and to speak up about social justice issues.

In September 2014, Steven was then invited to join the third ‘Making Airwaves’ program as a mentor. He guided the new participants in developing their unique stories, expressing their individuality and always encouraged them to speak out about matters that were important to them.

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While still working with the third Making Airwaves program, Steven accepted an offer to speak at the 2014 Arts Activated Conference hosted by Accessible Arts. The conference is the largest of its kind in Australia and showcases the achievements of people with disability as advocates, artists and leaders. Together with Making Airwaves coordinator, Catherine Maitland, Steven delivered a 20 minute presentation about how the Making Airwaves program began, its development, achievements and future goals. Together with Dale Stephenson, one of the creators of Making Airwaves, he answered questions from the audience and later asked for contacts of people whom he would like to interview for his next radio broadcast.

Steven has since gone on to produce and host in the fourth Making Airwaves and plans to continue his role as mentor for the program in 2015.