Maryland Positive Behavior Support Training

Using Person-Centered Tools

diverse group of people meeting

Person-Centered Thinking, LifeCourse, and other practices can be used in a number of ways to help improve supports for people. They can be used:

  • Informally in conversations so that you can learn more about a person,
  • For improving Individual Education Plan or Person-Centered Plan of Care goals for children and adults,
  • As a brainstorming approach when changes occur or a person is transitioning to a new stage in life, and
  • While preparing for an individual person-centered or positive behavior support plan.

One-Page Description

A common strategy used by advocates who encourage being person-centered is to create a short summary of key information about what is important to a person, actions that support them at home or work, their preferred routines and events, and other details. People who teach Person-Centered Thinking refer to this summary as a Personal Description or One-Page Profile. Many different organizations use similar ways to support people who are older, in the hospital, or in transition. Some groups like the Alzheimer’s Association have created a 2–3-page written summary that includes helpful information about a person. Hospitals often find this type of short summary helpful so that medical professionals can quickly learn more about people who are receiving medical care in hospital settings. Examples of person-centered summaries PDF .

Short descriptions are used in different ways:

  • In work settings when a person starts a new job and is meeting supervisors and co-workers
  • When staff are starting a new job supporting someoneat work or at home
  • When two people become roommates and want to learn more about each other
  • If a person is admitted into a hospital or other setting for a period of time
  • As a way to share important details about a child who is living with their family and receiving services at home
  • To support an older adult who has just moved into an assisted living setting

Person-centered strategies are used to:

  • Build on strengths and talents
  • Highlight what is important to the person
  • Describe preferred social and communication approaches
  • Connect with the community
  • Deepen and encourage meaningful relationships
  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect
  • Prompt us to use active listening strategies
  • Encourage empathy for others