Building Circles of Support for people with intellectual disabilities.

The overall aim of the project is to use research information to develop resources to enhance the Circles of Support (COS) for adults with intellectual disabilities that can be used in person-centred planning processes. Person-centred planning puts the individual with intellectual disability at the centre of the process, and builds supports around that person meeting their individual strengths, needs, wishes and goals. The HSE’s National Framework for Person-Centred Planning says COS is key to effective person-centred planning, and required to help individuals to develop and implement their goals.

For 15 years, IDS-TILDA has investigated what influences social inclusion and community participation for older adults with intellectual disabilities. IDS-TILDA data strongly supports individualised Circles of Support as necessary to enhance inclusion and participation.  Ideally, COS include close family, extended family, friends, neighbours, advocates, and community members, and coordinates their efforts with care providers. However, these COS are frequently missing from person-centred planning, with the planning team often limited to the service provider, paid staff, and possibly a few close family members. This approach restricts both the planning and achievement of person-centred goals as it fails to include the full range of human, programmatic and infrastructure supports required if we want true inclusion and participation in daily life.

This project will translate IDS-TILDA data into new resources:

A COS Blueprint with Guidelines for service providers to promote COS, with specific measures to identify, recruit, support and sustain these Circles.

A COS Workbook for people with intellectual disabilities and their carers to better understand how to integrate COS into plans. This will include an easy-read and plain-language Handbook with accompanying video.

Open access resources will be co-created and implemented through established partnerships with service providers, individuals with intellectual disability, families and other COS stakeholders.

Award Date
12 September 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Mary McCarron
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Knowledge Translation Awards