Connecting the Dots On Our HOPE Perspective

Our HOPE perspective is the sum of our thoughts and feelings around our sense of purpose. Purpose is the key to hope because it leads to actions that we can take to manifest a sense of hope, otherwise we are just making wishes that we have no control over.

Sometimes people need help to find their purpose, or as we say at HOPE Alliance, a hope perspective. When significant others get involved in the process of supporting the process of hope seeking, good things happen. A team of people wrapped around the individual provides a broad perspective toward what sorts of supports may be needed and how easily they can be provided. This team of significant others can help the individual develop resilience by displaying that they are not afraid to walk the pathways together toward rejuvenating hope, and being present in a non-judgmental capacity... the process is unconditional.

I developed a tool that can be used as a guide to teams of significant others in support of those seeking a renewed hope perspective. The Connect the Dots Assessment, or CDA below is a very useful tool to quickly assess where any individual falls on his/her hope journey.

Connect the Dots Assessment (CDA)

The CDA is designed as a quick and very simple to use assessment tool guiding significant others in their effort to learn the story behind the story of a person he/she is trying to support. It provides the user with a reference to the levels of stability and adjustment of the individual in question within several domains on a case by case basis.

The CDA is based on the HOPE Wheel, a medicine wheel model that has been used for thousands of years to help guide people on life's complicated journey. The hub of the circle is represented with the word HOPE, an acronym for Health/Opportunity/Privilege/Education. The sum of someones cumulative hope perspective is defined in the following contexts:
  • HEALTH represents support for the individual’s state of health. At question is how “healthy” the individual is...physically, mentally, socially, cognitively, etc.
  • OPPORTUNITY represents support that can be provided easily via external means, in other words, they can be provided for the individual without any conditional requirements
  • PRIVILEGE represents support that are not easily provided via external means because they are conditional, le. financial privilege, family privilege, male privilege, male privilege, academic privilege, etc.
  • EDUCATION represents support that educates the individual making him/her better equipped to deal with things independently… knowledge, skills, attitudes that support independence and stability.
For sake of example, I did a retro CDA from my own personal twelve year old perspective, the year my parents were separated and all hell was breaking loose in my life at home, and subsequently at school. As you can see the star shape of my CDA is very erratic indicating that anybody trying to support me was in for a challenge.

To learn more about how to implement the tool effectively, see the steps below. A full page version with guidelines is included at the HOPE Alliance website here. There is also a school based version available utilizing different vernacular, but targeting the same purpose to divine a hope perspective and what supports may be useful in achieving that in a school setting.

  1. Scan the four directions, (respect, understanding, relationships, responsibility,) giving some careful thought to the subject of this CDA’s hope perspective within each direction.
  2. Starting with respect, and travelling clockwise to understanding, relationships, and lastly responsibility, place a dot on the spoke location that best articulates how the individual presents within each sub-descriptor. If there are no concerns in an area, the dot will be placed on the first ring connoting that the individual is fully self-reliant in that particular context. If there are concerns, the dot will be placed anywhere on the corresponding spoke relative to the degree of concern.
    1. Family support provided allows the individual to feel purposeful, independent, and regulated
    2. Community support provided allows the individual to feel purposeful, independent, and regulated
    3. Specialized Individual support allows the individual to feel purposeful, independent, and regulated
  3. Once all of the twelve dots are applied on each of the sub descriptor spokes, (3/direction,) you will see a shape resembling some iteration of a star. Ideally the individual’s star plots will be on or very near the first ring from the hub. Any dot applied beyond the first ring indicates that supports are necessary for the individual to function purposefully and confidently.
Any star plotted beyond the first ring instigates a conversation around the support required in that specific area.

  • Are the required supports present, and if so, are they working and how well?
  • Is there work to be done to provide the support where it is not present?
  • What agency, organization, group, individual, etc. would be useful in providing the support?

  • Always work from the inside/out. Borrowing in principle from Newton’s Laws of Motion,
  • If family supports are working (inertia,) no external support (force) is required to change the trajectory of support.
  • If family supports aren’t enough then influence from an external force is necessary, (community and/or specialized supports,) to keep things in motion.
  • The farther outside the first ring an individual falls, for every support action the likelihood of an equal and opposite reaction becomes greater.
  • Support “team” members come in all shapes and sizes. Don’t hesitate to think creatively about who, what, where, when, how, and why a support would be appropriate.

Once the CDA is complete, conversations detailing how to respond and create action around support provision can be initiated in a series of support team meetings to track and record degrees of success. If something is not working, stop doing it. If something is working, keep doing it, or perhaps do it more.

I welcome stories about how you may have used the CDA tool as a significant other in the life of someone you support. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out at... or here in the comments.


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