What is Person-Centered Planning?
Person-Centered Planning is a process of bringing supportive people together to help someone define and achieve a dream for the future. It is a "Person-Centered" way to make community contacts and overcome barriers for a person who has a disability. In a person-centered meeting, everyone contributes to a guided discussion and learns about the individual's history, struggles, triumphs, preferences and abilities. The emphasis is on strengths instead of limitations. Everyone shares anecdotal information instead of reading reports or interpreting test results. Based on the stories, the person and those who provide support are able to more clearly define a dream for the future and participate in achieving that vision. These dreams are often represented in a sequence of maps reflecting the individual's past, and their future aspirations. There are different methods used in person-centered planning meetings. Two common methods, MAPS and PATH are described below.
What else occurs during Person-Centered Planning?
- This type of mapping event provides helpful planning and short-term goals for students with disabilities. This certainly includes the planning involved as a student prepares to exit school for adult life.
- Person-Centered Planning focuses on the abilities of the individual and can be used to supplement school records and help identify both short and long-term goals. Decisions related to employment selection or vocational goals are certainly a vital part of this!
- Usually there is a facilitator and graphics assistant to help out with the process.
- A mapping event such as this provides a fresh perspective for everyone.
- It helps identify strengths and weaknesses as well as available community resources. Potential worksites can be identified as a result.
- By involving a wide community of people who know the student and/or community resources, a more accurate picture of the student is created and opportunities and barriers can be identified.
- Values associated with Person-Centered Planning include the following: inclusion, membership, relationship, respect, dignity, choices, teamwork, image enhancing, individuality, competency, future or dream focused. A positive attitude is maintained at all times during the meeting.
Who attends the Person Centered Planning Meeting?
- The student or individual who is transitioning
- Immediate family members and relatives
- Student's friends, peers
- School representative
- Agency representatives
Using MAPS- McGill Action Planning
MAPS is a creative planning process for children or young adults with disabilities that promotes inclusion, relationships, and the individual gifts of the focus person.
A team of people committed to the child come together to develop maps that answer the following questions:
1. What is the history of the student?
2. What are our dreams for the student's
3. What are our nightmares of the student's
4. Who is this
student?- Word Map
5. What are the student's preferences?
6. How does this student communicate?
7. What would an ideal day at school look like?
8. Images for School & Beyond
9. What does the community have to offer?
From this portrait of the student the team moves from knowledge to action by determining what the child/team needs to move toward the dreams and away from the nightmares. An action plan is developed with specific action steps, who will be responsible, and a timeline for completion of each step.
PATH Model (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope)
PATH is a graphic planning tool that identifies long and short term goals and helps you identify the specific steps to successfully reaching your goal.
Step 1: North Star: Reaching your dream
- What are some of your ultimate goals in life?
- Where do you want to live?
- What will you do for a living?
- What is important to you in your community?
- Will you marry and have children?
Step 2: Setting Goals
- Select a time in the future that is comfortable for you to work with... 6 months, 1 year, 2 years.
- The facilitator helps the participants visualize and think ahead to a specific time.
- You want to list the events that have occurred in this individual's life.
Step 3: Words to Describe Now
- Person describes what is working and what is not working in their present life.
- Participants share their perspective as well
Step 4: People to Enroll on the Team
- An all star team to be a part of your life plan
- Could include: parents, extended family, friends in community, teachers, related service providers, TA specialists
Step 5: Ways to Build Strength
- Areas that need to be strengthened.
- Can be training for person, team members; equipment needed, contacts needed
Step 6: Action Plan
- Think ahead to a date 3-6 months away and determine what it is you will have completed. List those completed events or activities and identify who was the key person in terms of support or guidance.
- Pick a goal and identify at least a step that is completed within this time frame.
Step 7: Next Month's Work
- What steps need to happen in the next month?
- Who will do what?
Step 8: Committing to First Steps
- List what will happen immediately
- Who will be responsible and when
Learn More about Person-Centered Planning
A Brief Guide to Personal Futures Planning From the Texas Deafblind Outreach Project: A booklet of maps used for developing a person-centered plan.
Creating Pathways for Children with Deafblindness This article provides a brief overview of person-centered planning and shares three parents' stories about how they are using the tool to plan for their child's future.
Person-Centered Planning Utilization Scale — This scale with rubric developed by the Georgia Sensory Assistance Project, helps evaluate the effectiveness of person-centered planning meetings. (file from mv)
Person Centered Planning Information and videos depicting both the MAPS and PATH process, from Inclusive Solutions