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.   We run separate presentations for the different generations – please see below.

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
  • Understand how to practise these skills and techniques at home
  • Formulate a personal action plan to return home with confidence about next steps

This introductory presentation is designed for younger generation family members concerned about an older generation family member with dementia.    After many years’ experience of introducing families to the SPECAL Photograph Album analogy, we now run separate courses for the older spouse or partner carer as soon as they can be supported by an already inducted younger generation family member.  If any family member would like to discuss this approach in more detail, please email us at and we shall be happy to explore it further with you.

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:           £75 per attendee

Venue:      This Virtual Burford course will be delivered remotely via Zoom.   

Dates:       Dates for 2021 to be posted soon

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

Early application is recommended as these courses book up quickly and numbers are currently 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 and wherever their person may be living..