Making Dreams Real
Blind People's Association, Ahmedabad (India)
This 8-minute video provides an introduction to Personal Futures Planning, which is a process that helps youth and their families to identify their dreams, and to develop specific goals and activities to achieve them. In this video, some of the challenges of this process are discussed, and suggestions for implementation are offered. Specific maps are discussed, including Dream Map, Background Map, and Relationship Map. In English with captions. (Transcript below)
Making Dreams Real
Every child has a dream. Similarly children with multiple disabilities also have dreams. But the question is how to achieve them. There are many ways of making dreams real. One of the interesting and effective ways is Personal Futures Planning, which is commonly known as PFP.
Let's look at a case study. (Teacher Abha Bhatnagar's voice speaking): "I have a student. He has been with me for the last five years. His name is Jasmin. He is 18. He wants to become a cashier. In the last five years he has made a remarkable achievement, but I don't think he can become a cashier because in literacy he's at the primary level. In communication around people he's very limited. His mother also wants him to be a cashier, but I don't think it's possible. His mother wants this because his father works in a bank. I don't know how it would be possible. Can you tell me how you would manage such a situation?"
Vimal Thawani, Project Manager at Blind People's Association (India) replies: "Hi Abha, I understand your confusion in relation to this child. But to be honest I am very happy. Do you know why? Because you mentioned that your student Jasmin and his mother have a very clear dream. She wants him to be a cashier and Jasmin himself wants to be a cashier. It's really wonderful and you know why I am saying it is because there is a way which we use in our center which is a new way of thinking and looking at the child. It enables us to plan for the lifetime of the child. Do you know what it is? It is called "Personal Futures Planning". We call it PFP. Do you know, Abha, PFP focuses on the strengths and abilities of the child. It always focuses on what a child can do. It is a very practical way of planning about the child and it enables the child to realize his or her own dreams."
Abha replies: "It is really very interesting, but how will it help Jasmin?"
Vimal responds: "It is very easy to do. You do not need any (special) skills or materials or test materials or equipment. All you need are a few colored pens and some chart paper. You may be wondering what you will do with this. We will make a few maps that will give us a picture of the child. As you mentioned, Jasmin has a limitation in interacting with people. So, maybe this map will help to give you an idea of who the people are with whom Jasmin comes into contact on a day to day basis. Maybe you are thinking who will do this? Again, it is a team approach. The people who are involved with Jasmin form a team, which includes his parents, he himself, teachers, therapists and anybody else who is interested in Jasmin. Maybe his rickshaw driver who brings him from home to school every day and he would know many things about Jasmin that other people do not know. So you can include such people in the team. And make such maps. Mainly the maps we focus on are the Dream Map, which helps to identify the ultimate goal for the program, the Relationship Map, and the Background Map, which gives us the background information about the child."
Abha: "Okay, when I was listening, it seems all maps were wonderful, but as a teacher when we work with children we need very specific goals. Can you tell me how these maps will help me to develop very specific goals for him?"
Vimal: "Yes, Abha, why not? Let's take the example of Jasmin. You said that Jasmin has the dream of becoming a cashier and we begin from there. Now you think to become a cashier, what are the skills Jasmin would require? Definitely he would require counting, doing simple arithmetic, like plus and minus. To be a cashier, he would need to learn to interact with people, so that could be another goal that he would learn such skills: to meet people, make friendships with them, interact with them, communicate with them. These will give you the very specific goals for Jasmin to work on. So this is how you have to make a list of skills to help Jasmin to become a cashier. This is exactly the way you can identify the specific goals and on the basis of those goals, you can identify the specific activities that will help Jasmin to reach his goal.
"This is how we work with different children and this is a very interesting and effective way of helping children to achieve their own dreams. So, Abha, you can also try Personal Futures Planning with Jasmin and many more such children in your unit facing different challenges. You can make an effective program planning for them."
Narrator: Let's go through all the maps and understand Personal Futures Planning, which is commonly known as PFP.
- Dream Map: The Dream Map provides an opportunity to bring out what parents hold in their heart and mind for their child's future.
- Background Map: It gives first basic information about person's background, including positive and negative experiences, critical events, and current dynamics.
- Relationship Map: It focuses mainly on who all are in the life of the focus person with whom the person interacts, like his family, friends, and people from the community.
- Communication Map: It focuses on the communication modes the focus person uses in his or her day to day life.