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A step-by-step guide to getting started with All About Me direct work.
The first themes of All About Me are about understanding the child – how they see themselves, what they like to do and enjoy. This will help you gather ideas about what kind of activity and play the child enjoys, and help you plan the later sessions.
Later sessions will more readily access life events, places and people.
Each theme should be covered by one session, each lasting one hour, and should take place at a venue that the child or young person is comfortable with. This must be agreed with all of those involved in advance.
The space needs to be private and secure, so you are not disturbed during the session and the child or young person can share in confidence. It is important to plan all the sessions and we recommend that you agree on a consistent time and place for the sessions as this helps form a commitment.
As the sessions are also designed to promote attachment and relationship-building, we would recommend that they take place either:
Whether you are the carer or a social worker we would encourage you to share information about yourself during each activity too, as this is a great way to get to know one another and helps to build relationships.
Preparing for All About Me sessions
1. Spend a bit of time reading and reflecting on the All About Me resources on this website.
2. Think about the child/young person you will be engaging in All About Me.
Make sure you have a good understanding of their current situation and their story as it is known to children’s social care. If you are not the social worker or foster carer of the child or young person, you should gather key information about the child or young person which will help inform how you approach each theme.
By exploring some of the following questions, you can begin to develop a picture of the child and how they navigate the world within the family and within the community. Some of these questions will also provide an insight into the behaviour, emotions and actions of the child or young person. By building a picture of them you will develop an awareness and appreciation of the situation you are going to be engaged with.
Questions you could ask the appropriate person could include:
• How long have they lived in their current home?
• Who do they live with?
• Why do they live here (if in care)?
• What is the legal status (if in care)?
• Who is their family and who do they keep in touch with?
• What do they enjoy doing?
• What interests do they have?
• What (if any) disabilities do they have and what does this mean for them?
• What special needs need to be accounted for?
• How do they like to communicate – anything I should know about this?
• What worries do you have about the child?
• What else should I be aware of?
3. A ‘hello visit’
If you are not familiar with the child or young person who you are supporting through All About Me, you should organise an introduction visit where you can ask if they have any questions, worries or concerns, and agree on a venue for the sessions and a time of day that is suitable. Playing Jenga is an accessible play-based communication and assessment tool that can be used in many creative ways, including during a ‘hello visit’ – try out Jenga Games.
4. Develop an All About Me activity plan
Every child is different. All About Me direct work will be flexible and will be completed at times that work for children. Work out a plan with the child (and their carer) that you both agree.
5. Your All About Me resource pack
Develop an All About Me resource pack – a pack of resources such as stationery, games and online resources to use. Among the many resources that you might find helpful, we would recommend the following:
You can find out more about ‘Think Feel Do’ here.
We recommend that stencils, pencils and colouring books are suitable for the age of the child. Therapy colouring sheets are more complex pictures that focus the mind and so calm young people. Many of these resources can be found at http://www.supercoloring.com/collections/stress-relief-coloring-page
Finally, we would recommend that your All About Me resource pack is placed in a themed container so that the child knows that they are the ‘tools’ they have access to for working on their story and theme.
This resource was developed by Blue Cabin, Professor Richard Rose and South Tyneside Council.