The Tightrope Toolkit uses the analogy that adolescence can be like walking on a tightrope. The young person and a practitioner work around the analogy to identify balancing skills and strengths that the young person has to navigate their tightrope (resilience), any steps that make the tightrope higher (dynamic risk factors), what foundations support the tightrope (resilience aids), the strength and flexibility of the safety net (external controls), anything that makes the path / foundation more ‘muddy’ or ‘wobbly’ (past concerns and static risk factors), the steps needed to reach their goals (planning) and the motivation they have to take their first step.
The toolkit includes 8 sets of 16 prompt cards, written in easy to understand language and an 84 page guidance manual that outlines the research supporting every prompt, each numbered for easy reference. The manual includes questions to introduce and discuss each area around the tightrope with additional guidance on assessments or interventions for youth offending, violence, self-harm and substance misuse. The tightrope can be used as a stand-alone mapping tool with a template form to photocopy and as an 8 week intervention to discuss each area in more detail. An evaluation tool is included to measure the impact on increasing resilience within the young person.
This outstanding resource is an integrated and interactive toolkit to engage young people in transparent discussion about their strengths, risks, beliefs, past experiences, behaviour and support network. Particularly effective for young people involved in assessment and planning processes who find difficulty in engaging and talking about these areas.
The programme has 16 discussion cards for each aspect of the Tightrope analogy:
- Foundations for change / past success – Positive times at home
- Balancing Strengths – Positive outlook
- Muddy Path – Lived in poor area
- Falling Off – Binge or heavy drinking
- Safety Net – Adults who check where I am
- Current Worries – Pressure from friends
- Values / Motivation – Making decisions for myself
- Steps Down – Learn to deal with stress
“What a can of worms (information) In 10 years I have not managed to gain so much info in one session using such an effective assessment tool. Wow…..”
Bail and Remand Officer in Hammersmith and Fulham
“I got more in that tightrope in one session than I’d done in 10 weeks”
Wandsworth Locality Youth Work Manager when asked about a session with one young person
“They can see what’s going wrong and the patterns…They can identify better choices…It’s visual and they get it.”
feedback from young people and workers with the Wandsworth Locality Youth Work Manager
“It’s helped in opening up about the motivation for concerning behaviour…they have been able to identify intentions and motivations which they hadn’t previously.”
Practitioner in Lambeth Youth Offending Service