The Van Wert County Board of Developmental Disabilities is in the business of serving the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. From birth throughout life, individuals with disabilities may need supports to help them function as active and engaged members of their communities. We believe that a developmentally disabled individual receiving supports and services should be at the center of decision making related to their future.
Person-Centered Planning utilizes a number of techniques, with the central premise that any methods used must be reflective of the individual’s personal communication mechanisms and assist them to outline their needs, wishes and goals. There is no differentiation between the process used and the output and outcomes of Person-Centered Planning. It pursues social inclusion through means such as community participation, employment and recreation, seeing people first, rather than diagnostic labels.
• using ordinary language and images, rather than professional jargon
• actively searching for a person’s talents and capacities in the context of community life
• strengthening the voice of the person and those who know the person best in accounting for their history, evaluating their present conditions in terms of valued experiences and defining desirable changes in their life
The resulting plan may be in any format that is accessible to the individual, such as a document, a drawing or an oral plan recorded onto a tape or compact disc. Multimedia techniques are becoming more popular for this type of planning as development costs decrease and the technology used becomes more readily available. Plans are updated as and when the individual wishes to make changes, or when a goal or aspiration is achieved. As part of a regular planning process in the United States, regular plan updates are necessary.
Person-centered planning can have many effects that go beyond the making of plans. It can create a space during which someone who is not usually listened to has central stage. It can insist that discussion is centered on what the person is telling us is important to them, with their words and behaviors, as well as what others feel is important for the person. It can engage participants personally by allowing them to recognize deeply felt hopes and fears. It can assist people in a circle of support to re-frame their views of the person it is focused on. It can help a group to solve difficult problems.
In Van Wert County, person-centered planning can help to create new lifestyles, new homes and jobs, diverse kinds of support (informal and formal) and new social relationships.