Let’s Take A Photo!

I was reflecting in the office the other day, on the advent of modern technology. All of the memories of my childhood are immortalised in print. Awkward, embarrassing, and occasionally hilarious pictures of me and my siblings as we grew up. Now as an adult my phone is full of pictures of my niece and nephew, but how many do you imagine I’ve printed? None.
This is quite often the case with the people we support and their IPad. Full to the brim of pictures of activities, good times, laughing, dancing and building relationships. But how often do we stop and get these pictures printed for people to enjoy.

Luckily, one gentleman here at Durrants Hill has discovered the local print shop, and as such has taken to printing off lots and lots of the amazing pictures he takes on a daily basis. ‘Let’s take a photo!’ he says. SX will not leave his flat without his IPad at the ready to document his daily life. He has no quarrels with brazenly requesting that unsuspecting members of the public take pictures of him and his support worker enjoying the local park, or asking his support worker to take pictures of him as he busts a move at the musical experience that is the Electric Umbrella Group. As a result of this fascination with taking pictures of his everyday life, we have been able to capture some incredible moments of interaction that showcase not only the skills of our support workers, but also the joy that SX gets from his daily life.

SX has had a difficult start at Durrants Hill, but over time his behaviours of concern have reduced and his opportunities to explore his local community have increased. With the use of his PBS (Positive Behaviour Support) plan, and a consistent and regular staff team SX is leading a life that makes sense to him. Quite often it takes a huge effort on the support workers part to encourage SX to leave the house. Staff use reassuring phrases, objects of reference such as his shoes and coat to prompt him to think about going out, and some of his pictures to remind him where they have planned to go. This shows fantastic use of a total communication approach.

As mentioned above, SX attends the ‘Electric Umbrella’ which is a musical workshop for adults with learning disabilities, to play instruments, sing, dance and generally have uninhibited fun. SX absolutely loves this activity. SX can be found front and centre, singing, dancing and clapping along to the music all whilst saying ‘Let’s take a photo!’ Our support workers are often alongside him, IPad at the ready capturing the moment of joy but also the Great Interactions involved. Seeing the ten key facilitation skills in action in this way is always a welcome break from the office. I’ll give SX a lift there just to watch him smile.

So as technology continues to advance, old phones and IPads get discarded, broken or sold, we should all make a concerted effort to immortalise some of these incredible moments in print, for the benefit reflection; memories and for the people we support to look back on the happy times in their life. I suppose I better go and print some pictures of my niece and nephew now!

Daniel Simmonds
Frontline Manager
Durrants Hill


  • Natalie Macpherson says:

    What lovely photographs!

    Its great when people use thier interests – such as photography to inspire us all.

    Thanks for sharing Daniel.

  • Emma Killick says:

    Thanks for this Dan – and thanks to SX for the wonderful photos. You’re right – photo technology is fantastic, so accessible and really engaging but perhaps we do loose something because we have so many images that we no longer print them as a matter of routine. I suspect a great many of us will be pondering the same thing after reading this.

  • Tess Marshall says:

    Great photo, full of joy, and so good to hear about how well SX is getting on, and the success of the PBS plan. I completely agree that you should go off and print out some of those photos of your niece and nephew – I was doing some decluttering the other day and found myself surrounded by old photos and old memories which I just don’t think are the same in digital format.

  • Kate Webb says:

    Love this, thankyou! The photos are great! I used to love taking photos as a teen and waited for them to be delivered from fuji! Great to see your lovely person centred approach.. keep taking the photos!

  • Tina Murray says:

    Thank you for sharing this Dan – the other day I got new bits for my computer, lovely….. my other half said “is there anything left on the computer you want before I format it” – no said I ….. whoops lost all my photos!!! so yes it is important to not only print some but have a back up too.

    Lovely photos SX – what a star

  • Stuart says:

    What a great read Dan. Wonderful work happening at your service.

  • Sarah Ormston says:

    Hi Daniel,

    A lovely blog and it raises such an important topic of producing Life Story work and the benefit this has to the people we support (and staff!) – I enjoyed reading that electronic devices are ‘Full to the brim of pictures of activities, good times, laughing, dancing and building relationships. ‘ This made me smile and is fantastic that so many happy memories are being captured and shared.

    Thank you for sharing, Sarah

  • Marina Clark says:

    Great blog and great photos capturing the fun and interactions with the person, thank you for sharing!

  • Andrea Hartley says:

    Great blog Dan, lovely pictures capturing fun time activities and great interaction.and making many memories.

  • Richard Colbert says:

    Great blog Dan, and it inspired me for a simple heartfelt Christmas present that one of my students would love to give!.

  • Roger Berry says:

    Terrific read and great pictures Dan! Thanks for sharing!
    You prompted me to Google Electric Umbrella. What an amazing scheme! Do you know if we have anything similar in Bedfordshire?

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