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Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope

In 1992 Marsha Forest and Jack Pierpoint used their P.A.T.H. process to help us develop a plan for the next year.

P.A.T.H. is very simple, but very useful and I highly recommend it. It gives a good overview/framework on which to hang other, more specific, plans for example an IEP.

You can see more detail of the technique on P.A.T.H., MAPS and Circles on Marsha and Jack's web site.

For a P.A.T.H. session you gather together everyone who is closely involved with the person. We had the following people:

The Star - Rebecca Hulst
Some of the Star's family - Jane and Gerard, grandparents and aunt
The Star's school aide - Gaylene Wilson
A facilitator - Marsha Forest
Co-facilitator and scribe - Jack Pierpoint

Marsha facilitated the questions, while Jack made a graphic record of the meeting. The record was written and drawn on a piece of paper that covered one wall! Too big to include here - so I've included some fragments to give you an idea.

Firstly we had to situate ourselves in a very positive future, picture it clearly, then think backwards.

The situations (with our responses) were:

1.   Touching the dream (the North Star).  
      By the end of the year we will have:

Fragment of PATH planning graphic record
Fragment of PATH planning graphic record
Been invited to birthday parties
Friends over to play on the weekends
Been pony riding during the week
Had other parents say "It's great to have Rebecca in our school"
Been accepted as "just one of the gang" at school
Be going swimming regularly
Read lots of books
Rebecca communicating with us
Rebecca awake all day and sleeping at night (without drugs)
Been to DEAL
Won a prize at school
Been going to Jumping Beans (kids gym) on Saturdays
Have a library of Muppet videos

2.   Grounding in the NOW. Where am I/are we?

Fragment of PATH planning graphic record
Rebecca sleeps too much at school
Rebecca understands but cannot express what she knows  
Frustrated by lack of knowledge of facilitated communication
We are hurt at people's inability to accept Rebecca
We are tired of arguing, waiting for services and endless excuses
We are sick of too many negative people
We believe that Rebecca has a place, and that she will do well at school, she will make friends and that DEAL will see us

3.   Identifying people to enrol on the journey

Fragment of PATH planning graphic record
Rosemary Crossley - DEAL
Cheryl Pivac - Communication aids
Parents of peer group in school
Pauline - Rebecca's school teacher
School principal and Board of Trustees
Rebecca's friends (school and family)
Ministry of Education
Reading companion (high school student to read with her)

4.   Recognizing ways to build strength

Fragment of PATH planning graphic record
Believe in Rebecca (in my opinion the most intelligent thing anyone said all day!)
Spend time with like-minded people
Spend time relaxing with books and movies
Play golf
Go to bed by 10pm
Don't put up with irritating people
Don't argue with negative people

5.   Charting actions for the next three months

Fragment of PATH planning graphic record
Go to DEAL Communication Centre and be using facilitated communication
Have a bed at school and hot water
Have been to one birthday party
Go swimming
Go riding
Awake - well working on it (someone suggested: hot bath at night, cold shower in morning, marbles in nappies and no breakfast - it was a joke folks!!)
Reading companion one day a week
The school Board of Trustees will be on-side

6.   Planning the next month's work

Fragment of PATH planning graphic record
Invitation to a birthday party
Get hot water and a bed in her room at school
Get communication assessement at Wilson Home
Get a standing frame
Design a communication board
Tape Sesame Street for Rebecca to watch to build language skills

7.   Committing to the first step (the next step)

Fragment of PATH planning graphic record
Prioritise hours in the day
Develop the recipe book sales - putting something back

We finished the session with one word reactions:

Fragment of PATH planning graphic record

Focussed, hopeful, possible, moving forwards, exciting