WELCOME TO LEARNING TOGETHER
A relational model of support
Behaviour change starts with the caregiver
People are doing the best they can – behaviour problems are responses to unmet needs
People with ‘special needs’ have the same needs as everyone else – the need to be loved and to feel loved, to feel a sense of belonging and to have a sense of control over one’s own life project
The caregiving relationship is based on unconditional love, empathy and authenticity
Compliance is a by-product of loving relationships and is not a learned ‘skill’.
Conflict resolution is an ongoing teaching-learning process that evolves and changes over time
Direct Support Services for autistic adults with learning difficulties
The critical difference between Learning Together and more traditional services is that we avoid the use of systematic, scripted, behavioural approaches. Instead, we have adopted the philosophy of Gentle Teaching. Gentle Teaching recognises that we all bring our own unique set of values and beliefs to any interaction. Traditional behavioural support models largely focus on what needs to be changed within an individual; what the individual's deficits are, e.g. their lack of skill or their behaviour problems and how to improve or reduce these. Skill acquisition, obedience and ‘positive behaviour’ are not the main goals of Gentle Teaching. These are seen as by-products of a much broader process: that of teaching the person to experience and respond to feelings of emotional connectedness within safe and loving relationships.
In challenging times or when we are confused as to what to do, we refer to the basic values of Gentleness, Kindness and Forgiveness. Conflict is a critical part of relationship growth and development. Our collective challenge is not to eliminate the arguments and emotion but to create a safe environment where they can be challenged, understood and resolved with care and compassion, by people who won’t give up.