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Dr Irene Broadley-Westerduin
BSc, PGCE, Ad. Dip. Sp Ed., MEd, MSc, PhD
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In My Shoes

In My Shoes is a computer package that helps children and vulnerable adults communicate about their experiences including potentially distressing events or relationships. Extensive testing shows it can be used in a wide range of circumstances, including interviews with children who may have been abused, or who have difficulties in expressing emotions, who are hard to engage or who have developmental delay or other difficulties. It has been used successfully in interviewing learning disabled adults.

How does it work?

In My Shoes uses images, sound, speech and video. Through a series of modules, children are encouraged to share information on their experiences and emotions with different people in home, educational and other settings. The interview is structured, systematic and clear. Forensic considerations have been central to its development, and the focus is on facilitation of communication about the subject areas, with leading questions being avoided.

Does the child use it alone?

The program has been designed so that a trained adult will sit alongside the child and assist, guide and interact with them through a structured interview process. The information that is gained is a product of the three-way interview; it is not a question and answer session with the computer. However, the nature of the program is such that children who are unable to use the spoken word can still, with appropriate support, use the tools within the computer program to give an indication of their experiences and feelings.

How does it help?

In My Shoes is an excellent means of engaging the child and building rapport between the child and the interviewer. It promotes communication in a unique way, and provides a structure for the interviewer, which helps to maximise the opportunity for the interview to address sensitive areas and to facilitate sharing information. It helps children to communicate about their experiences, thoughts, feelings and wishes. It also provides extensive and detailed session records. It provides a wealth of pictures for later use and discussion.
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In My Shoes
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In My Shoes
When is In My Shoes useful?
In My Shoes is useful in a range of contexts and settings. These include:
Enabling a child to talk about their experiences, thoughts, feelings and wishes
Helping a child to talk about their experience of living in their current, or previous family or other care settings
Contributing to an assessment of the likelihood of significant harm and abuse and neglect
Contributing to assessment and planning about a child's rehabilitation to their birth family
Gathering a child's wishes and feelings about being fostered, moving to an adoptive family
Communicating about pain and discomfort past or present, including children in hospital
Assessing the needs of a sibling group
Talking about school with a child - learning, friendships, relationships with teachers and others
Enabling children with learning disabilities or hearing impairments to communicate
Helping children with problems in concentration to focus
Engaging adolescents who find face-to-face interviews challenging
Talking with a young person about leaving care
Communicating with vulnerable adults
In My Shoes
In My Shoes enhances the skills of practitioners and clinicians in direct work with children and young people.

Training

Professionals require training to be able to use In My Shoes effectively. There is a two-day training course based on an action learning approach. The two training days are separated by a number of weeks, which enables trainees to try out In My Shoes in their work setting in between the training days.

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