Community-Based Positive Supports

Community-Based Positive Supports Integrate the Best of Both Practices

It is important to use the elements of wraparound and person-centered planning to create a team-based approach that works best for each person. Both practices focus on the strengths of the person, empowering them to lead their own plans, and team-based processes where people work together to help someone achieve their desired dreams for the future.

How These Strategies can be Integrated:

  • Add more person-centered planning elements when the person or team members are using English as a second language or if there are language barriers that could come up in meetings
  • Embed strategies from wraparound when someone is accessing many different types of services and supports that need to be coordinated
  • Use more wraparound elements when working with youth moving into adulthood and with people who prefer this planning method
  • Adapt the way in which meetings are held when a person does not like meeting in large groups
A group of people working on a poster that says: "Integrate"

The success of both wraparound and person-centered plans is based on the expectation that these practices are not one-time events. Good planning processes include preparing for a first meeting and scheduling ongoing times for the person and their team to check in together to monitor progress.

Read the Key Elements of Wraparound and Person-Centered Meetings PDF to see how meetings can be organized over time.

Young woman on a Zoom call

Julie is a young adult (19 years old) with Autism who experiences anxiety. She is easily overwhelmed and overstimulated when there is a lot of noise. Julie has difficulty interacting with others and prefers to speak with people in a one-on-one setting. Recently, Julie experienced a mental health crisis due to extreme anxiety while working at her job in a local library. Typically, Julie's job is completed in the back of the library in a quiet room where she helps to categorize, label, and sort books and materials for re-shelving. Recently, the library began renovations and now has become louder and somewhat chaotic (due to the construction). Julie's workroom was utilized as a place to store construction materials and her job space became tables at the back of the general library. As a result Julie was trying to complete her work in a different environment with library patrons approaching her for assistance as they saw her working. This led Julie to have feelings of high anxiety that resulted in her reacting to questions by yelling loudly and sometimes cursing, leaving patrons while they were speaking to her, and refusing to go to work.

Addressing Julie's issues required multiple supports. Julie, her family, her mental health counselor, her place of employment, and her on-site job coach all needed to come together to address her current needs. To do this all parties needed to be aware of the issues occurring. Julie and her family utilize online communication to check-in with her providers and supports. As the issues arose, Julie's mother sent email messages to all her providers on a single email thread. This allowed everyone to receive the messages about the situation and to have a shared dialogue/conversation online. Julie was able to participate in this conversation easily as she enjoys email communication because she can complete it independently without being in a large group. Once the team determined (via the email communication) that they needed to meet, they utilized zoom to conduct a group meeting. The purpose of the online meeting format was two-fold. First, it allowed everyone to participate in the meeting easily without traveling which aided scheduling. Second, Julie was able to attend with her camera off - this helped her to feel comfortable in the group setting. Additionally, the technology in the zoom room provided for the use of breakout rooms and a waiting room if Julie wanted to communicate with just one provider.

Based on the group online meeting, Julie and her team created a plan moving forward. First, Julie decided to meet with her therapist on a twice a week instead of once each week for the period of one month. During these meetings, there would be a specific focus on coping skills for anxiety including what to do in situations where Julie feels her anxiety growing. Second, Julie's on-site job coach agreed to come with her to work the next time she attended and on a weekly basis for the next month. Since Julie had been at her job for two years the coach's current capacity was "on-call/as-needed." The coach agreed to attend and to reinforce the coping skills the therapist and Julie targeted in their sessions. Finally, the library agreed to move Julie's work hours during construction from mornings 8 am - 12 pm to evenings from 5 - 8 pm. At that time (i.e., the evening hours) the daily construction work would be completed leaving the environment quieter and less chaotic. Further, fewer patrons utilized the library at that time and thus were less likely to ask Julie for assistance. Julie's job coach and the evening librarian came up with a signal Julie could use to let them know if she was feeling overwhelmed or if she needed help with a patron. Finally, Julie and the team decided to check-in via group emails regarding how the plan was working.

In this example of wraparound planning, a person-centered approach facilitated by multiple providers was used. Electronic forms of communication that allowed for ease of scheduling and a reduction in a large group face-to-face environment met the needs of the team. Individuals provided ongoing supports on a one-on-one basis for Julie and the team was able to work together to help Julie stay employed and reduce her anxiety. Additionally, Julie learned social skills related for recognizing and reducing anxiety that she could apply, not only in work settings, but also in her life outside of work. By ensuring that the wraparound planning was mindfully conducted (conducted in a way that facilitated involvement of all parties) Julie was empowered to be a full participant in all discussions and decisions.