Tools and Resources
What is it? Why do it?
A person-centered plan is a process that can be used in planning for the future for young adults with disabilities. The focus is on the young adult and their vision of what they want life to be like in the future. This plan should be used to work on anything the young adult would like, including: developing relationships, participating in the community, education, employment and other dreams they have. Having a person-centered plan gives the young adult control over their own life, allowing opportunities to develop the skills and abilities needed to turn their dreams into reality.
Generally, the Circle of Support would be involved in this person-centered planning process; however, feel free to include other people as well. It is important for everyone to be aware of the entire plan, though, so all Circle members can be as effective as possible. The group should have a clear understanding of what the young adult is capable of, appreciate their individuality and support their independence. An understanding of what the young adult wants is crucial.
It is also a good idea to have an unbiased, neutral person who can help lead the group through the process. This person can handle conflicts that may come up, ensure that the young adult remains the center of the plan, and assure that everyone has a chance to participate in the planning process. Although it’s helpful to have someone who knows the young adult, it’s also important to have someone who can remain unbiased. Many times we have a hard time stepping back and looking at the whole picture when it comes to our loved ones. Therefore, if the group leader is a member of the Circle of Support, make sure they can remove themselves from the discussion. The leader should only facilitate discussion, not try to influence the discussion.
What to Include
It’s important that the planning team is aware of the young adult’s history. This includes their background, major life events and developments, important relationships, medical concerns/issues, and other things that are important to the young adult that will help them become independent. Another critical component is focusing on what quality of life looks like to the young adult. This should be the focus—to help them get the quality of life they want.
When looking at their quality of life and preferences, it’s important to focus on what they enjoy and identify potential barriers and strategies to overcome those barriers. Something commonly overlooked is their health and ways to maintain it, so they can do the things that are important to them.