The PATH planning tool helps individuals and whānau to think about where they are in terms of their unique attributes and strengths, their current goals and dreams and their aspirations for the future. It is a visual tool that used pictures or graphics instead of words to help people develop an alternative way of figuring out what they want to achieve.
The process can be used to define life direction, design a building, or organise a community – it just happens to work really well for neurodiverse and those with FASD (and their whānau) figure out what they want their future to look like. PATH begins with questions: what is it that you hope for? What is the dream you have for your life? What gift to you want to be bringing to the world? What gives your life direction and meaning?
Marsha Forest, Jack Pearpoint and John O’Brien wrote the first PATH handbook in 1995. PATH’s use of symbols and colour to portray hopes and dreams can be powerful – a picture can become a visual and emotional ‘anchor’ and evoke very positive memories. Kataraina Pipi (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Hine) first saw the tool at work in indigenous communities in Canada in 2002 and realised its potential for her work within kaupapapa Māori research, so brought PATH to Aotearoa. She used it in her own work and then began training others.
Tania Henderson was trained in PATH facilitation by Kataraina Pipi. Tania has delivered education on FASD in multiple workshops and courses such as within the Tikanga Mātua Te Ao Māori Parenting Programme and workshops in schools for those working with FASD tamariki. Tania has contributed to the Northern Region FASD Strategic Plan and to the development of the NZ National FASD Training Tool (developed by Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui) to ensure it included tikanga practices, and she subsequently ran the first of the Frontline Professional FASD Training Tool workshops. Tania was part of the panel which fed back to the Government on the 2016-2019 NZ FASD National Strategic Plan and is a board member of FASD-CAN.
Kiri Key joins us from Tāmaki Makaurau to provide some insight into what works in schools for tamariki Māori experiencing neurodiversity. She brings a holistic view based on both her personal experience and her years as a teacher.
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