A unifying theory about children who have a multifaceted condition'
Free PDF of essay 'TAC for the 21st century: A unifying theory about children who have a multifaceted condition'
This essay (3500 words) was written by Peter Limbrick in 2009 and addresses the great problems that arise when we think in terms of multiples in childhood disability. Peter argues that it is not logical, when designing development and learning programmes, to characterise a baby or young child as having multiple disabilities. Instead, we can think of a whole child with a single multifaceted condition.
From this radical, 'systems-thinking' starting point, we can create a collective effort around each individual child to design a whole-child, multifaceted intervention system that:
- prevents overloading vulnerable infants with too many practitioners and programmes
- takes the strain off some very busy families
- makes much better use of practitioners' time and energy.
Summary of essay
We have in the UK an increasing population of children with neurological impairment and consequent multiple disabilities or 'multifaceted conditions'. There is a danger of these children and their families being overloaded in the first years by too many practitioners with too many discipline-specific programmes. This comes from the well-intentioned, traditional practice of providing a new practitioner for each of the disabilities as they emerge.
The result can be a fragmented approach to the infant's development and learning with some young children being required to relate to, and accept being handled by, more people than they can cope with. The Team Around the Child (TAC) approach adopts a systems perspective and enables service providers to move from thinking about multiples to thinking about wholes – whole children, whole conditions, whole intervention systems.