Courses for Family & Friends

Our Introduction to the SPECAL Photograph Album for Family & Friends is now a half-day session which provides the essential   first step for anyone interested in promoting and sustaining well-being for the person with dementia and their family.

Attendees will learn about:

  • Every human being’s need for a sense of well-being
  • An understanding of the impact of a diagnosis of dementia
  • The need for a post-diagnostic step change from a medical model to a disability management model led by the family
  • The SPECAL Photograph Album – an analogy to explain:
    –     How normal memory works
    –     Universal age-associated problems
    –     Dementia – a single change
  • The consequences for the person with dementia
  • The reason why common sense does not work in response
  • The need for a SPECAL sense response from other people
  • SPECAL’s Three Golden Rules
  • The concept of working positively with dementia, once diagnosed, rather than trying to defeat it

There will also be an opportunity to:

  • Explore a starter set of counter-intuitive skills and techniques to re-instate and sustain well-being for the person with dementia
  • Practise these skills and techniques with other members of the group
  • Formulate a personal action plan to return home with confidence about next steps

This introductory presentation is designed for family members across the different generations and their friends – anyone who is concerned with one particular person with dementia; attendees may also include professionals whose work brings them into contact with people with dementia.

A basic understanding of the SPECAL approach to dementia management, as outlined in this session, will enable anyone involved with the care of a person with dementia to bring about an immediate improvement in the quality of life not only of the person with dementia but also all others concerned with their care.

Cost:           £50 per attendee


  • 31st January 2o2o
  • 7th February 2020
  • 14th February 2020
  • 21st February 2020
  • 28th February 2020


Venue:       The SPECAL Centre of Excellence at Burford, Oxon. OX 18 4LS

If you would like to attend one of our Introduction to the SPECAL Photograph Album sessions please email for further information, including registration and payment details.

Early application is recommended as these courses book up quickly and numbers are limited.

This short introductory session is the essential first step in SPECAL’s comprehensive programme of coaching support for families and friends from the point of diagnosis through to the end of life.

Family members wishing to explore the SPECAL method in more detail are invited to discuss the Contented Dementia Trust’s Transitional Care Coaching Pathway and its associated support programme on completion of this introductory presentation of the basic SPECAL theory.

The sooner the better…

The sooner after diagnosis that the family can understand the nature of their person’s disability and begin to develop new communication skills, the better.  They can then begin planning within an optimistic framework which ensures that everyone coming into contact with their person, including professionals, are SPECAL-informed in their communication and interaction.

… but it’s never too late

Constructive guidance is available at any stage in the post-diagnostic journey, as part of a fast track approach where appropriate.   Families need to be reassured that, as long as there is someone who still cares about the person with dementia, it is never too late to make a difference to their quality of life, however late in the day it may seem.