The Government recognised the threats to the ‘rights, independence, choice and inclusion’ of those with complex needs in its 2001 & 2007 papers ‘Valuing People. In particular ‘Transition into Adult Life’ was identified as an area where more needs to be done “to find creative and innovative solutions” to involve young people in the decision making processes that affect their lives. The Executive Summary of ‘Valuing People’ identified person-centered planning (PCP) as essential to the delivery of real change in the lives of young people with learning disabilities. This is extremely difficult to achieve for young people who have severe intellectual disability and communication impairments. In Transit represents a dynamic and innovative approach to enabling young people who are ‘non-verbal’ to be seen and heard on their own terms and meaningfully included in defining the direction of their lives.
The films made in collaboration with each young person during In Transit, will be edited, processed and produced in accessible DVDs for inclusion in Person Centred Reviews and planning meetings, personal files and the Single Assessment Process facilitated by Social Services during transition planning. They will communicate a great deal that paper based assessments may not be able to encapsulate. Young people will be consulted about who they show their films to and how this is done.
The ideas behind In Transit were piloted between 2005-2007, culminating in 12 films and a comprehensive publication ‘Art in Transition’. The pilot provided evidence that the presence of art and a more intense observation and recording disrupts and exposes presumptions in the professionals involved in transition planning and social care about the potential of a young person and what they might be capable of doing. Collaboration engenders a ‘climate’ of possibilities around a young person and a greater investment in a young person by family, professionals and peers.