Chapter 1
Understanding person centred approaches when
supporting people with a learning disability

Good support for me is different every day. Listen to me. Help me to have a
good day. One day it might be about money, shopping and paying the bills,
the next day it’s about keeping the house clean and going to volunteer at the
centre. On another day if I am poorly then it’s about my support worker ringing
for the doctor. If it’s a cold it’s easy, but if not it could be the hospital!
Sandra gets support to live the life she chooses in her own flat, spending her time as a
volunteer and going out on local shopping trips and to see friends and family.

People with learning disabilities should be at the centre of all decision-making
that affects their life. Putting the individual’s needs and choices at the centre of
the care and support you provide is often referred to as using a person centred
approach in the way you work.
As a support worker you will need to find out about the history, preferences,
wishes and needs of the person you support and to use this information to
influence the day-to-day support you provide. In services for people with
learning disabilities we refer to this as person centred planning and support.
Simply put, it is a way of asking what people want, what support they need and
how they can get it. It assists people to live an independent and inclusive life.

Learning outcomes
This chapter will help you to:


explain person centred values and how they must influence all
aspects of your work;
understand the importance of working in a person centred way with
people with learning disabilities;
Understanding person centred approaches when supporting people with a learning disability

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understand the role of risk taking in person centred support;


explain how a care plan will help you work in a person centred way;