Frontline Initiative Diversity

State of the Art Definition:
Person-Centered Planning

If there is anything that we have learned about providing services and supports to people with developmental disabilities and their families, it is that people with mental retardation and other related disabilities are unique. No two persons need or desire exactly the same things in the exact same way. Because of this, there is more than one right way to provide supports to them.

As more has been learned about what people need and want and how supports can best be provided, new processes that involve person-centered planning (PCP) have been used successfully to develop individualized strategies and supports. These planning processes are particularly useful in figuring out how to best plan supports for people with specialized needs (e.g., challenging behavior, limited communication skills). 

Person-centered planning is different from the traditional interdisciplinary (IDT) processes. It focuses on people’s gifts, strengths, preferences, and what they are doing right instead of their deficits, weaknesses, limitations, and what they are doing wrong. In PCP, an emphasis is placed on the individual, his or her family, and the specific supports they need to become full citizens in their communities of choice. PCP meetings involve people who know and care about the person for whom the plan is being created, such as the DSPs who know the client best. The tone of these meetings tends to be more personalized, creative, and fun. PCP has dramatically changed the lives of many people receiving supports. The more these processes can be used in developing supports and services for people, the better their quality of life will be.