Why parents need to be included in decision making

One of the main concerns we hear from parents, and one of our main concerns as parents ourselves, is the lack of real involvement in our child or young person’s life.

We know we are an expert in our child or young person, and often practitioners are aware of this too.  However, what are the benefits of involving us in decision making?

Recognition-Primed Decision (RPD)  process

Why parents need to be involvedThe RPD Process was created by research psychologists Gary Klein, Roberta Calderwood and Anne Clinton-Cirocco in the late 1980s.

The RPD Process details the 3 basic steps that we use, often without even thinking about them, when we need to make a quick decision.

The three steps are:

  1. Experience the situation
  2. Analyse the situation.
  3. Take action.

The RPD Process involves our knowledge and experience of our child and the importance that has when we have to make decisions quickly.

The RPD Process is based on recognising patterns and using our experience to analyse what will work.  So it’s not something you can pick up from a text book and apply.  Your knowledge and experience of your child is something you will never find in a text book – wouldn’t life be so much easier if it was?

Why is RPD Process important?

Without that knowledge and more importantly, experience, we tend to use “trial and error” methods to come up with a solution.  This can take up valuable time and resources, in services currently facing some of their biggest budget cuts to date.

Parents will tell you of several occasions when their child was failed by the system.  However, if you look into these stories further, it will often come down to the fact that the school/LA/Health or other provider didn’t tap into the knowledge and experience that parents have.

The child is failed, often when the parent can be heard saying “if I could just tell you” or “I’ve seen this before, I know what to do” but no one cares to listen.

Having a parent on board who can share their knowledge and experience is invaluable.  CCGs, LA, Social Care, Education and all providers really can’t afford not to use such a valuable asset.  They should be knocking down our doors and pleading with us to talk to them.

Not using this resource is the same as reading a book about how to fight fires and then turning up at a large fire and not listening to the Firefighter with 20 years experience.

It’s the same as watching an episode or two of House and then refusing to listen to the Neurologist with 30 years experience under their belt.

No one would be that stupid.  Okay, maybe a few people would be but every village requires an idiot.

So why do so many services and practitioners ignore the most valuable asset they have?

Can you imagine having a free unbelievably useful resource available to you and not using it?

Text books are great.  They can provide us with lots of useful information.  They can share case studies of other children and the experiences of many practitioners.  However, the text book will never replace individual knowledge and experience.  This knowledge and experience is something used in any person centred planning.  It’s why parents are often such great advocates when we are looking at how we can all help our child or young person to reach a goal.

This knowledge and experience of our children is not in any text book.    We are able to experience the situation (what’s the problem), analyse the situation (what are the options) and then make a rapid decision (take action).  This can be done quickly and without spending months (or even years) trying different methods because we know our child.

RPD process is hugely effective when behaviour crops up that maybe a new provider hasn’t seen before but as a parent, you remember it from a few years ago.

It works when there is a crisis and we need to make a decision quickly.  If your child has medical needs, the chances are you will have carried out certain procedures as often as any nurse.  What may appear to be a crisis to someone may just be a standard day for you or at least, something you have dealt with on a number of occasions or perhaps dealt with similar situations.

We can use the Recognition-Primed Decision process only when we have experience AND knowledge, of a situation.  Providers need to appreciate that we have this knowledge and experience and, for them more importantly, they need to know what the benefits are of using that.

The biggest benefit of using RPD Process is time and money.

Unfortunately we live in a system which is very low on funds so utilising our knowledge and experience has got to be best for everyone.  Best for our child – they are not being set up to fail – and best for the budgets – no time or resource wasted trying something that anyone with knowledge and experience of the situation can tell you won’t work.





Finding YOUR Way – A conference for families of disabled children

We are absolutely delighted to announce our very first Conference.  Finding Your Way – a Conference for Families of disabled children.

Throughout the last year or so, we have been listening to families in our groups, on our blog and at events we have attended and very often the same questions arise.

We sat down with Care Management Group and were delighted when they offered to support us in hosting a Conference where we can offer a variety of workshops to answer those questions.

CMG Conference Finding Your Way 2016


So what are the workshops?

  • Housing Options – what are the various options available for our young people.  What is the difference between Supported Living, Independent Living and the variety of other options?
  • Resilience – as a family, how do you bounce back when the system knocks you down?
  • Mental Capacity Act/Deprivation of Liberty– what do these really mean in practice?
  • Positive Behaviour Support – what is this and how can you use it in your family?
  • PA recruitment – learn about how to use One Page Profile thinking to recruit the right PA
  • Working Together – how can providers and families work together better to ensure the best for our children and young people?
  • More to be confirmed in October

Peter Kinsey, the CEO of Care Management Group, writes a weekly blog.  It’s a great insight into life as a provider so pop over and subscribe, we’ve found it very interesting to see the issues they face, which often are not ones we hear about or even consider.

Last week, he talked briefly about the workshop on Housing Options.

Today I am briefly going to talk about the workshop on housing and support options which will be included on the conference agenda. This session is about helping families get the information they need to make the right choices when they are looking for accommodation with support for their loved ones. It can be a very confusing picture with residential care and supported living and a variety of different funding mechanisms including Local Authority, NHS, housing benefit and direct payments. The purpose of the workshop will be to explain the similarities and differences between residential care and supported living, how the money works and also how families can go about getting the right information to make the right choices.

We know many families are confused about the variety of options available, what would be best for their family, how is that funded, etc?  So this workshop will be very popular, we’re sure.

Spaces are limited, so booking early is recommended.