WSPLD Youth Transition Projects
I was module leader and project manager for three youth transition projects. I worked with marginalised young adults with challenging behaviours to involve them with arts projects. I designed and led three projects, Changes, Challenges and Choices, Maze of Maps and Communicating Choices. All projects were bespoke for hard to reach, non-verbal teenagers. Working with each individual and their support staff, I designed the project around engaging them in art practices, creating new purpose and ways of being understood in effective ways.
Spring 2015 Communicating Choices
Communication links our world to other peoples; gradually over time we learn to understand and to find ways to be understood. From body language and behaviours, both subtle and challenging, to verbal words, noises and sounds. From objects of reference to pictures and symbols, to taking someone to what you want or need, our worlds offers many ways to communicate.
Communicating Choices was a project designed for teenagers between the ages of 14-18. The project focused on how each young person chose to communicate and how that affects the choices they make. Each participant were offered and invited to join activities that enabled them to chose, to get to know new people, places, and discover activities that sparked their curiosity and intrigued them. From choosing lunch and what to eat at snack, to going to the shops to buy it. From water play, bubbles, story telling and being outside, to choosing music in the sensory room.
During the project collaboratively with staff and teenagers, we were creating a communication passport with each teenager. Each passport had a living organic feel to it, a sort of scrapbook, which invited family, friends and key workers to get to know individual’s ways of communicating, their likes and dislikes, and their can-dos.
I invited staff to read the participant’s bouncing movements, their guiding hands, their bubbling vocalisations, their gentle and knowing eyes, the symbols and objects they get given, and not relying on the verbal spoken word. Communicating Choices through being verbal and non-verbal invited and enabled these teenagers to be understood in ways that are easier, calmer and accessible.