You can also download this as an easy read PDF

Introduction

The hair tool helps to check social workers' knowledge and skills in working with adults with learning disability. It supports the capabilities statement for social work with adults with learning disability.

It has been designed by experts by experience, and is designed as a colourful hair-do.

Social workers have to answer the questions at the bottom before moving up to the top of the hair do.

The Hair Tool includes a series of questions for experts by experience and social workers to answer. It helps experts by experience to act as critical friends - challenging their social worker in a supportive way to help them to learn and develop.

Watch the video featuring experts by experience, Jackie and Jill, who developed the Hair Tool.

Capabilities statement for adults with learning disability - toolkit video

How to use the Hair Tool

An interview with experts by experience – Jackie and Jill

Question – Why did you come up with the Hair tool in the first place?

It is important to see the world through colour and although I don’t like people to ‘touch’ me when I stroke my hair it always reminds me of my mum 

Question – How has it been used before?

We have tried to get councils (where social workers work) to use the Hair tool before but they wanted to change the colour of the hair to just black and white, so it didn’t really work properly.

It needs to stay in its colours.

Colours are important, it won’t work if it’s in black and white.

Question – Why do we need to start at the bottom of the Hair Tool and work go to the top?

You don’t climb a mountain from the top of it to the bottom, this is about real life, so starting at the bottom shows that people have started to make the journey.

If you work your way up different colours mean different things by the time you get to the top you are doing a really good job the bit at the top where the yellow is. 

Question – How can people with a learning disability use the hair tool?

Some people with a learning disability like me say they like the colours.

By using the colours, it helps people understand where they are on the hair tool and can help with what questions to ask.

Question – How can the hair tool be used by Social workers?

It is important for social workers to use the Hair Tool because it’s a way of asking the right questions, learning from the person they are working with, explaining questions and understanding how others see the world. It guides them through the questions against the colour, aiming for the top.

It will help them to get where they’re going and guide them up the mountain to the top to do a better job and not be at the bottom. This tool will teach them how to ask the right questions to people with a learning disability and others to guide them in the right direction.

To make a good social worker, they have to listen to the people they are working with and by using this tool. We hope it will guide them in the right direction to be good social workers for the future and to understand the people that they are working with.

Question – How will it help people understand how good they are doing and where they need to get better?

People will know if there is a change in the way that the social worker is working.  

They will know if the social worker asks different types of questions, this tool makes you talk about things that you don’t always understand or if you need guidance in the right direction. Getting to the top of the hair is important. If you are in the bright orange red colour you know you are going in the right direction.

We want we want the social workers for the future to understand people with a learning disability. The old ways need to change for the future so that social workers do not judge people with a learning disability but understand us.

Download the hair tool as a PDF

The questions below are the ones that people with a learning disability and social workers will use to check how they are using the capabilities statement:

Questions for a person with a learning disability

13. What does your social worker do to get the right care and support for you?

12. How does your social worker help you understand everything that is available in the area where you live? 

11. What makes you feel that your social worker is doing a good job?

10. How does your social worker really help you understand what their job is and what they can do for you?

9. How does your social worker help you make decisions?  

8. How do you think that you and your social worker get along?

7. How does your social worker help you understand everything about the care and support you will get?

6. What does your social worker do to make sure they really understand how difficult it is for you as a person with a learning disability?

5. Do you think your social worker really sees you as a real person?

4. How does your social worker check to make sure you are always safe?

3. How does your social worker check with you what things you are good at?

2. How does your social worker check with you what the best way is for you to communicate?

1. How does your social worker tell you about the choices you have about your care?

Questions for a social worker

13. Provide an example of something you feel proud of in terms of the work you are doing with this person

12. Explain how the work that you do ensures that the person gets the support they need and works best for them?

11. Explain how you have developed a working relationship with the person

10. . How have you made sure that the person you are working with is aware of how to keep themselves safe where they live, work or go for fun things?

9. . Explain how you provide information to the person to help them make their own decisions

8. How do you present information to the person about the choices they have about support?

7. Explain how you find out about the things the person is good at and what they enjoy doing?

6. Have you checked what is the best way to communicate with the person  with a learning disability?

5. What do you do demonstrate that you see the person with a learning disability as an equal and real person?

4. Provide an example that shows you understand the challenges and difficulties the person you are working with faces on a day to day basis as a person with a learning disability?

3. How do you find out what is important to the person?

2. Explain how you have informed the person about their rights and the legal duties of the local authority and other organisations. 

1. How do you explain your role to the person?