If your family member or someone you support witnessed or experienced abuse first hand, are you confident they would know it was abuse and could let you know?
After attending the Leicestershire and Rutland Safeguarding Adults Trainers Network, Cassandra a Frontline Manager for MacIntyre in Leicester was inspired to get creative to help Bess, a lady she supports, to identify abuse and is in the process of supporting her to learn how to communicate to others if she witnessed or experienced abuse.
Cassandra shared her story.
"I attend a Safeguarding Adults Trainers Network meeting in Leicester and we have been looking at ways to make safeguarding more personal and relevant to people with profound learning disabilities. Afterwards, I kept thinking about this; how we communicate with people, what is relevant to them, what types of potential abuse have people actually seen and how may they have interpreted this."
"Thinking of this topic and the people I currently support, I felt that Bess would enjoy working on this together. Bess would not easily pick up on possible signs of abuse and there would be the added complication of how she would let people know her concerns. This is something that she really struggles with, especially with people she doesn’t know, so I felt this would be a really good skill to learn.”
"Bess enjoys watching DVDs, in particular ER (the hospital series). I thought this might be a good place to start my research."
Cassandra began to watch a few episodes of ER, identifying that the episodes showed examples of physical abuse, including patients shouting, as well as storylines involving theft.
"I felt that these types of interactions were a good place to start as they already had Bess’s attention and were familiar to her."
To communicate, Bess often uses a pictorial rota as well as photos to show her what is happening 'now' and what will be happening 'next'. Knowing this was how Bess was already communicating, Cassandra used this as the basis for their work on safeguarding.
"I knew Bess likes to play games, so I developed a pack of cartoons around good interactions and bad interactions. I started by looking online for good cartoons that weren’t too abstract but were clear and bright, as Bess has limited sight; Something that would really catch her attention.
"The next stage was to play our interactions game and help develop Bess’s skills around social interaction; what she classed as a nice interaction and a bad interaction.
We used basic sign language that Bess understands - thumbs up and thumbs down, and started to play ‘good or bad interaction’. We started with the types of abuse that were shown in ER; physical, psychological, and financial."
"This took a few goes with me explaining the photos and using sounds that would relate to pain or being upset, to laughing when a photo showed happiness. Bess began repeating what I was saying and she soon started to recognise the 'bad' interactions. She would point and say 'no pain' or start laughing at the photos with people shaking hands."
Working in this way, Cassandra was able to break down the complexities of abuse for Bess to process.
"I feel Bess has a better understanding of what is abuse and that would upset her, this is now something that we can build on together to further develop her understanding of the many different types of abuse and how to make someone aware."
If you are creative, kind and think you could inspire the people we support in Leicester, we would love to hear from you! You could be providing support for people with learning disabilities by supporting them to learn new things and engage with their local community. We offer a range of benefits including:
- Enhanced annual leave.
- Full and on going training
- Opportunity to gain nationally accredited vocational qualifications
- Workplace pension scheme
- MacIntyre Perks which offers up to 6% discount off leading retailers including Tesco, Curry/PC World, Costa and many more
To find out more about joining our team in Leicester, please get in touch using the form below or apply online .