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Changing lives through Dimensions Activate

Our new model of support, Activate, is based on research carried out over two years, at 24 services and involving over 80 of the people we support.

Two ladies with a mild IDD/diabetes diagnosis share supported accommodation.

29 year old Sarah also has Prader Willi syndrome and 54 year old Janet was being assessed for epilepsy. Both ladies have a good sense of humour and Sarah is gifted with animals.

Before adopting the Activate approach, Sarah was verbally aggressive and would injure herself. Her challenging behaviour contributed to Janet’s anxiety and seizures, putting a strain on their relationship.

Researchers supported staff with training, monitoring and feedback. We trained Sarah and Janet’s staff teams on Active Support, Positive Behaviour Support and use of a Periodic Service Review.

Sarah, Janet and their support teams are all much happier and healthier thanks to Activate.

Sarah now volunteers in a Guinea Pig sanctuary and walks rescue dogs, while Janet is enrolling on a higher level course in Maths and English.

Both women have better control over their health, finances and what they do in their spare time.

Our analysis below outlines the approaches and outcomes achieved for Sarah, Janet and their staff team.

Sarah's support

  • Regular meetings to discuss progress
  • Personalised activity schedule
  • SALT referral
  • Visual communication aids
  • Specialist dietician support
  • Personalised exercise programme

Janet's support

  • Regular meetings to discuss progress
  • Personalised activity schedule
  • Literacy skills programme
  • Specialist dietician support
  • Financial support

Before and after comparison


  • Sarah displayed entrapment and challenging behaviour
  • Sarah would self-harm
  • Janet suffered from anxiety and seizures
  • Sarah felt scared, under-heard and under-valued
  • Janet felt scared, unwell and angry
  • Limited and unstimulating trips out
  • Strained relationship


  • Janet's anxiety has decreased
  • Sarah no longer displays challenging behaviour
  • Better health and diet for both women
  • Improved relationships for both women
  • Better finances for both women

Key outcomes

  • Sarah spends time with her mum
  • Sarah volunteers at two jobs with animals
  • Sarah has better relationships with her family, staff and neighbours
  • Janet is more confident
  • Janet has enrolled on educational courses
  • Both women are planning holidays abroad
  • Both women are doing activities they choose and enjoy

Key data

  • 92% implementation of their intervention plan, over a period of 9 months.
  • Sarah's Aberrant Behaviour Checklist score reduced from 67 to 14 and, 18 months later, reduced further from 14 to 7