Giving young people a voice: the instrument My Path

Publication date: 01 September 2013

The ‘Disability Studies: Diversity in Participation’ research group has developed a new instrument called ‘My Path’. The aim is to give youth a voice so that they can take charge of their own life and future. The instrument has originally been developed for and with 16+ youngsters living in a residential institution and who have multiple complex problems.

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Based on the design specifications, a workbook and an app called My Path have been designed that supports youths in making choices regarding their own live and future. The ownership of My Path resides with the youngster: they choose the subjects that they wish to talk about, and whether they complete My Path alone or together with someone of their own choice. They also determine how and where it is kept. My Path results in a Summary Score with which they decide which steps they will take first. Then, a concrete plan of action is made for each step. In Stage III and IV, My Path has been tested and this resulted in a positive impression of both face validity and content validity: the youngsters find My Path attractive and choose subjects that relate to the things they are working on in the counselling plan at that moment. The research also yielded information about enabling and disabling factors for self-direction in the context of residential care.

Claim

My Path seems to be a suitable instrument to stimulate youths in residential care to find and express their own voice. It is a challenge for professionals and for the surrounding organisation to create conditions for their voice to be heard, so that they can learn to participate in a manner that suits them. 

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