Person-Centered Planning: What It Is and How It Helps

Have you ever sat down to think about what’s really important to you? What are your hopes and dreams? What are your goals, and where do you want to be in your life? For those with disabilities, person-centered planning can often be the solution to achieving those hopes and dreams. 

So what is person-centered planning?

At its very core, it’s about developing a plan that will help someone accomplish what they really want out of life. It’s about independence and knowing what the person’s strengths and needs are and putting support in place. It is not only about services and funding, but more importantly, creating a plan to reach the hopes and dreams. 

Person Centered Planning is based on a set of values that are also in the Self-Determination Program, including: 

  • Presuming confidence
  • Focusing on strengths
  • Behavior as communication
  • Every person can have a meaningful life in a community
  • Respecting cultural diversity

These are values to keep in mind when working through a person-centered plan. With that in mind, let’s cover the stages of planning and how the process can help someone with a disability transition successfully into adulthood.  

Developing a Pre-Plan

There is a lot that goes into preparing for the Person-centered plan meeting. There will be a focus on what is important TO you and what is important FOR you. Your likes and dislikes will be at the core.

In the pre-planning stage, there is a focus on the important decisions that will need to be made.  Prior to the meeting, you will decide who is in your Circle of Support. This circle is made up of people who can help implement the plan and reach your goals.

Additionally, consider any help that may be needed at the meeting to communicate effectively. That could mean including technology having things pre-written to make it easier. 

The pre-planning stage can require a lot of work, but it will ensure a person-centered planning meeting runs smoothly. 

What to Expect at a Person-Centered Planning Meeting

Sometimes a Person-Centered Planning meeting is called a celebration or a party. It is an exciting event! It is a wonderful opportunity to share your hopes and dreams with your Circle of Support so they can support you in your plan.  . 

The first step is to make sure everyone knows each other and then the plan created in the pre-planning is introduced. Everyone in your Circle of Support is invited to add and comment on the plan and lend their support.

There is also time to brainstorm as a group. This helps because it gives the chance to consider things from other perspectives that you may not have thought of on your own. Everyone brings their own ideas and perspectives, which will lead to the best possible outcomes for achieving goals. 

Brainstorming eventually leads to specific steps it will take to reach those dreams. You can set timelines, decide who will help with certain things, and how everything will be accomplished. 

By the end of the meeting, you’ll feel good knowing exactly how things are going to get done. It can boost confidence and motivate you to work toward those goals as soon as possible. It encourages follow-through, knowing that there are people who are willing to help. 

How Does Person-Centered Planning Really Help?

Once a person-centered plan is in place, you’ll have all the information and tools you’ll need to accomplish your goals and reach your dreams. No matter what disability you might have, knowing that you have a plan to accomplish your dreams can help you feel better about any obstacles you might have to face. 

A person-centered plan shows that the things you want to accomplish are not impossible. You might have to lean on support and ask for help sometimes, but you’re still in control. 

The best part? A plan can change over time, depending on goals. Make sure to have someone in your life who can help access services and support make changes in your plan if necessary. For now, though, don’t be afraid to get started on your person-centered plan. Your dreams are waiting!

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