Community-Based Positive Supports

Adapting Positive Supports to Each Cultural Context

The word culture with a loading bar underneath. Words that represent culture surround the image including tradition, nation, language, belief, society, behavior, history, and ethnicity.

List of words:

  • Representation
  • Fairness
  • Diversity
  • Equity (this word is highlighted)
  • Inclusion

Recognizing Cultural Differences

An important part of any transition plan is to make sure positive supports are being implemented in a way that is consistent with the cultural values and beliefs of the person receiving support and those closest to them. Each person grows up in a culture that is shared with the people around them. These experiences are something that all of us have but we are not always aware of how our own cultural background impacts the way in which we react to the people around us.

For instance, some families value independence while others believe that we are part of a community and that all decisions impact everyone in this community. Using a term like person-centered planning can feel uncomfortable for people who are used to working together as a community to make important life decisions.

Any positive support can be used in a way that supports and honors deeply held values and beliefs or ignores and minimizes these cultural aspects of a person. When the values of a person receiving support is ignored or minimized, anger or frustration will arise making it more difficult to use a positive support.

Celebrating and Adapting to Cultural Differences

Being culturally responsive means that we are aware of our own values and identity and are actively learning about the different cultures and viewpoints of others so that we can make changes in how we respond and convey respect for each person. The ability to convey respect for the opinions of other people is an important part of being culturally responsive.

  • Gaining a better understanding of the cultural values and beliefs of the person receiving support
  • Dedicating time in team meetings to learn more about each member of the group and the values that are important to them
  • Teaching people before transition planning occurs to begin to recognize deeply held viewpoints that may be biased
  • Encouraging dialogue, reflection, and respect for others when disagreements arise
  • Creating an atmosphere of trust where people feel safe to raise concerns
  • Considering whether bias is impacting how data are being collected and interpreted