Why do Devon County Council say that they are promoting independence and then reduce the number of individual hours of support that my son or daughter has?

There are two ways of enabling someone to achieve something – for instance like going to the cinema. 

The staff member can enable someone to go to the cinema by catching the bus with them sitting through the film and catching the bus home or

The staff member can link the person in with a friend who likes the same films, teach the person how to catch a bus, buy a ticket, how to sit through the film with their friend and catch the bus home. 

 

Both are valid and either may be needed, depending on the individual situation, but only the second would properly be described as promoting independence.

 

Promoting independence means someone not needing paid staff support to complete the task.  It does not necessarily mean that the person will not have paid staff support at times, but that they can complete a task, for themselves, when they choose to do it. 

 

For instance someone with a severe learning disability may learn how to turn over the TV channel using a big button.  This means that they don’t have to wait for a member of staff and while waiting have to watch programmes that they haven’t chosen.

 

Another example might be that, by attending a chosen activity every week, the person will have made friends and may no longer need staff support.  There are examples also where people are transported by a known taxi driver so they don’t need to be dropped off or picked up but can travel independently.

 

If a person is in supported living, it may be that a group of friends will support each other by each doing the tasks that they are good at or by working together to solve problems.

 

Finally there are a group of people where it can mean that they are self-sufficient with tasks and complete them without anyone else being around.

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