You are a group member!

Please login.

You must first login before joining this group.

Login or Make a Profile

Person Centered Planning


I'm looking forward to engaging with the community on this topic. In my work with families and transition-aged youth over the years, PCP process was embraced by families as a strategy to explore, vision, and yes, plan for their children in a way that was not deficit based. While it's important to for PCP to inform and support the the IEP process and document for students and families, and other IEP team members, it's also important that the process not be reduced to the point of meaninglessness in order to do so.

I'll be sharing some on my own favorite resources I've used with families in this space, as well as sharing a case study of sorts of a successful and practical use of the process with families and students with/for whom I have co-facilitated the process.  I also look forward to you all sharing your questions, experiences, resources and comments with the community.

Person-Centered Planning Materials

Dee Spinkston

Charlotte  Spinkston

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Charlotte Spinkston

18 292 views
Please login.

You must first login before posting your comments here.

Login or Make a Profile

Comments (18)

I really enjoyed reading the case notes from Calvin and Curtis's stories below! I think PCP can be really difficult when our students are really hard to read and get to know in terms of what they like, don't like or might want to participate in for tasks. Sometimes it requires spending extra time observing, listening and trying to understand their perspectives before we can even get to the planning meeting stage.

Ellen Condon

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Ellen Condon

Thank you Peggy for attaching the Person - Centered Planning Materials the HKNC reps shared. They can be located in Charlotte's (Dee) introductory post above.

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

My son was the beneficiary of highly productive PCP meeting and follow up in NC. The result was positive for collaboration and synchronicity of his team. I was pleased to see every member of the team participate and take some ownership of his Action Plan. As a result of the PCP...I finally felt as a parent that his team was no longer fractured and at times working against each other, but that everyone was truly on the same page and working in the same direction. The PCP process was wonderful to see as all of the pieces of my son's puzzle finally came together for his benefit. I truly believe that his outcomes will be more fruitful due to the PCP process.
We are hosting a PCP Webinar this Thursday, December 6th from 7:00PM - 8:15PM in NC. The link to register is:
It is presented by Andrea Blackwood, ECU as well as Debra Pickens, ECAC, and myself-Rowena Barker, a new NC Deaf Blind Family Specialist.
I am a firm believer in PCPs and have seen remarkable results first hand.

Rowena Barker

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Rowena Barker

I think interest and involvement is variable- dependent on the interests and skills of the individuals who you work with.with. Inviting VR to the table to participate in completing a map or person centered plan would be wonderful, if you can get them there. Sometimes it might be more useful effective to complete the process, and then engage them in the parts of the plan they can support or, add to the plan. Sometimes, they may feel the may need to re-write the plan to be consistent with VR protocals. I don't see an issue with this, as long as the activities pursued remain truly person centered, and true to the values and intent of the plan.

Charlotte  Spinkston

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Charlotte Spinkston

Thanks CeCe for your contribution to this topic and Charlotte for facilitating. There are many families grappling with ways in which they can present their child's interests , strengths and conditions for success in a way that depicts who this young adult really is. Visual portfolios can be effective ways to demonstrate personality , routines and even capacity. Do you see VR being as being amenable to PCP and the use of portfolios to initiate job exploration ?

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

Great idea CeCe.
When I've done youth leadership retreats for transition-aged young people, they do enjoy a very hands- on portfolio process. We take pictures, do free writing, use pictures, words, symbols, art, small group and individual exercises, and create a portfolio of their retreat experience that they shared at their IEP and transition planning meetings. We used this retreat as the jumping off point for PCP.

Charlotte  Spinkston

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Charlotte Spinkston

I believe the students would enjoy doing the portfolios with their families - I am thinking of using this for the HKNC Mid-Atlantic Transition weekend in the spring.

The Arc Fresno wants to support individuals with developmental disabilities by providing them with a resource that will assist them in developing a person centered plan so that they can make a path for their lives and achieve their goals. “My Life” portfolio is a person centered planning tool that was specifically developed for individuals with developmental disabilities by a parent, Michelle Smith. Michelle worked tirelessly to develop a tool where young adults can express their hopes and dreams for the future.

“My Life” is a compilation of vital information that is put together in a way that is meaningful and understandable to the user. A portion of the portfolio will consist of personal records that everyone should have readily accessible, such as: emergency information, medical information, and California ID. The other part of the portfolio consists of information about goals for the future and exploring passions, such as: where they want to live, relationship goals, recreational goals, education goals, and employment goals.

The portfolio is meant to be completed, with support, by the individual. It can be in a paper or electronic format. Hopefully, new technology skills are added to their communication abilities. Each portfolio is an individual work that will look different as they reflect the individual’s own style. You can complete all of the sections or just use the sections that interest you.

The Arc of Fresno and Madera Counties is assisting their clients in completing their portfolio as a part of their day program. Parents are asked to provide only the information they feel comfortable sharing.

We hope that you enjoy this free service. Please contact Jamie Marrash if you have any questions.

Cecelia Norman

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Cecelia Norman

I'm sharing today a case study/presentation on the use of Person centered Planning. It comes from a staff person from the Helen Keller National Center, and provides a great perspective on the very practical and powerful use of PCP in the lives of 2 consumers and former trainees.

Personal Futures Planning Presentation (PFP)
January 2018

What is Person Centered Planning?
A philosophy that stresses a person’s gifts and abilities rather than his or her needs or deficits.

A philosophy that stresses getting to know the person and appreciating the impact his/her life experiences had on who he/she is today.

A philosophy that stresses getting people together who want to plan with and for the individual.

A philosophy that stresses opportunities rather than obstacles.

PFP was developed in the late 80’s by Beth Mount. It was a transformative way to view people with disabilities. It was devised using maps as the framework for the planning. Originally, there were seven (7) maps.

The first map usually completed is the “Background” map. It highlights the positive experiences and traumatic experiences in a person’s life from birth to the present. It can tell you a lot about the values in a person’s life.

Calvin’s story –
He lived in six (6) different institutions in his twenty-three (23) years. He was identified as an “eyes on” consumer who needed to be closely monitored. The first week Calvin was at HKNC, he walked down the hallways ripping off anything on the walls. Calvin liked to place pegs in a pegboard, which also helped him to feel calm. Calvin brought a high top sneaker to each class, which he liked to twirl. We labeled all of these behaviors as “negative and inappropriate”. These behaviors became obstacles for us as instructors. When we developed Calvin’s Background map we discovered that he was not allowed to explore things and that he always brought his pegboard and high top sneakers to each institution he had moved into. As a result, we tried supporting Calvin to explore his environment and we found that he picked up items and used them appropriately, like putting a phone to his ear. We created a hobby for Calvin with a variety of pegboards and pegs. We supported him bringing the high top sneaker to class and had a place for him to store it. We appreciated Calvin’s background, which helped us to better understand who he was and why he did certain things.

The second map we have used a lot is the “Preferences” map. It identifies things that work, motivate or energize the person versus things that do not motivate the person and lead to boredom and frustration. At HKNC, we have applied a person’s preferences to creating matches for functional, meaningful activities.

Curtis’ story-
Curtis was the most passive individual I ever worked with. He entered an institution at three years of age. When he arrived at HKNC, the only information we knew about him was that he could walk to the day room and like to be spun around in a desk chair. Curtis’ hands had no life in them. When we removed our H-O-H assistance, Curtis’ hands dropped to his sides.

Curtis was approved for 18 months of training in order to be able to work when he returned home. We started to collect our observations and insights to help us determine where to start with training. The staff were excellent detectives. They noticed the following:

Curtis turned his face up to the warm shower water and smiled. We knew he like water.
Curtis spent time smoothing out a towel after drying himself off. Therefore, we knew he liked dry textures.
Curtis always smelled a person’s hair so we knew he liked scents.

Our biggest breakthrough was when:
Curtis carried one side of the laundry basket while staff carried the other side. We knew Curtis liked gross motor activities.

We developed his training program around these four (4) insights.

The task we offered Curtis first for meal preparation was setting the table as it incorporated his interest in carrying things. The task we offered Curtis for meal clean up was taking out the trash, which incorporated gross motor movement.

Curtis worked at the laundromat washing HKNC towels. He collected all the soiled towels in a bag and carried them to the laundromat in town. He loaded and unloaded the machines. Curtis used a folding board to smooth out the towels and fold them. Lastly, he carried the clean towels back to the Center. This job incorporated gross motor movements, textures, and smoothing out towels, which Curtis liked.

Since Curtis loved to be spun around in a desk chair, a staff member took him roller-skating, which he loved.

The North Shore Animal League brought puppies once a month to HKNC. Curtis loved them! Curtis loved to use a rowing machine in the Gym. Therefore, we knew he liked repetitive arm movements. His job coach down south was a former HKNC staff person who created two job matches for Curtis. He groomed horses by brushing them as this job incorporated his love of animals, scents and repetitive arm motions. He also operated an old-fashioned recycling machine by pulling down the lever to crush cans. This incorporated his preferences of repetitive arm motion and gross motor movements.

Other maps that we use and that provide rich information that inform the future planning for individuals who are deaf-blind:

The “Relationships” map identifies important people in a person’s life and those who may want to plan together. They can be invited to a PFP meeting and offer ideas to try out and actions they may want to offer to assist with on the action plan.

The “Choices” map is helpful to see how much control a person has over his/her life. It identifies choices made by the person and choices made by others. We have been surprised at how much we controlled versus what the consumer controls when we used this map in the past.

The “Day in the Life” map is helpful to learn a person’s routines, areas of strength and those where supports are needed. We can learn about preferences here as well.

Charlotte  Spinkston

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Charlotte Spinkston

Sheri, this is a great question. In my experience, it's very difficult for families to manage the PCP process alone or, act as the primary facilitator on top of their current roles as advocate for their children. The model I've seen be most successful is when the parent and team identifies a friend, family member or professional to share the role as co-facilitator. Co-facilitators, can also serve as accountability partners for each other and divide responsibility for following-up with PCP team members to support follow through on their roles as well. This model can also support parents to explore and shift their perspective towards a focus on the needs of their children as young adults. Co-facilitators can play to each others strengths, share the load, and serve as role models for all team members on how to promote choice and self determination.

Charlotte  Spinkston

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Charlotte Spinkston

Hi Charlotte. Thank you for chatting with us on this important topic. I'm a parent of a young adult daughter with CHARGE syndrome and also work in the deaf-blind field. I've found over the years that PCP's have a lot to do with relationships and understanding systems. Systems can be very difficult to understand and navigate and often the various agencies aren't sure how they fit into the picture and what role they play. PCP meetings can be wonderful, proactive, and get families and the person excited about the future. However, it often falls apart if there isn't one point person (often the parent) assigned to oversee the execution of the plan in its various stages. Any thoughts for parents on how to continue to manage their adult child's day to day lives while also trying to manage a Person Centered Plan?

Sheri Stanger

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Sheri Stanger

I love the Emerson article Charlotte (Dee). What suggestions would you have for educational teams , families etc. who want DB students to be more self directed but complex needs require others to make decisions for them. The inclination has been to make the decisions for the student and often leaves me wondering how much it leans towards fitting into the one size fits all approach..

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

Thank you. I am looking forward to the resources.

Marites Altuna

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Marites Altuna

The universe tends to supply us with what we need, when we need it. I received this article in my inbox this morning, and thought it might be good to share on this forum.
Have a great Thanksgiving.

By Marilee Emerson
I heard this quote not long ago: ”People spend more time planning their family vacations than they do planning for their lives.”
I’ve seen some pretty elaborate vacation plans, but I hear a lot less about life plans.
I find it simultaneously easy and difficult to wrap my head around person-centered planning.
On the one hand, it makes total sense … of course people need to be at the center of their life plans!
On the other hand, all the health, education, and social service systems can make the process seem complicated and overwhelming. How can you plan for an individual within large systems?
Confusion and uncertainty make it less likely that individuals and their caregivers will embark on this type of planning.
So, let’s break it down.
This process was initially championed in the disability community for this reason; however, the process was expanded to address the needs of any individual who desires support with a life plan.
I often contrast the term person-centered with system or service-centered.
Person-centered means we listen, respond to and create a life plan based on an individual’s hopes, dreams, and goals.
In contrast, is creating a life plan based on what’s available through a system or service delivery model.
We know one size does not fit all, so why do many settle for this approach?
Sometimes an individual may appear to settle because they may not have a traditional means of communication to say, “I don’t want that.”
Other times, people appear to settle because they don’t have a support system in place to help discover alternatives.
Another quote I hear a lot is, ”If you’re not planning your life, someone else will.”
Two pioneers and thought leaders of person-centered planning, John & Connie Lyle O’Brien, developed the Framework for Accomplishment, and identified Five Key Valued Experiences that individuals with disabilities often need assistance with:
Sharing ordinary places
Making choices
Develop abilities
Grow in relationships
Be treated with respect and have a valued social role
These five valued experiences seem pretty basic, but for many people, achieving them throughout their lives is an uphill climb.
Person-Centered Planning helps create the opportunity for these valued life experiences. It creates the space on center stage for someone who may not usually be listened to; it helps start a conversation.
While there are many processes that support person-centered planning, they all share a philosophical background that says an individual is at the center of decision making, and family members (and trusted others) are partners in this process.
Marilee Emerson is passionate about helping families through challenging transitions. She helps parents of children with disabilities and learning differences know what they need to do next, so they can create better lives for their children and families.


Charlotte  Spinkston

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Charlotte Spinkston

Thanks Charlotte - looking forward to some of your favorite resources and applications.

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

There can be a disconnect when person centered practices are used as a checklist, rather than a way to inform and influence practice. I have experienced some of the most wonderful meetings with school staff and even families facilitating PCP . Everyone is excited and high from engaging in a process that supports "seeing" the student in a very different way. However, it rarely translated into outside the box thinking needed for day-to-day when implementation of the vision created.
The special education process is rules bound, and provides specific protections for families for very good reasons. However, the compliance oriented nature of the process can appear antithetical to the person centered planning process, which is by necessity fluid, encourages mid-course correction- and can all be done without re-writing a legal document. Person Centered Planning process requires a great deal of trust, cooperation. The IEP process, as practiced in many places, is not conducive to this orientation.

Charlotte  Spinkston

Posted 8 Mo. Ago by Charlotte Spinkston

Hi Charlotte , Persons Futures Planning , Mapping and the PATH process were all TA tools used to train providers , educators administrators to look at the person beyond the disability and consider what preferences,dreams and hope this person had to be happy. For those who wanted to work we also considered what types of contributions could this person offer an employer. Is there a disconnect you see with the schools who believe they are using PFP in their educational programming ?

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

It's great that you were able to get folks from the school people involved as well!
Can you say more about how you kept the the team on target between meetings?
I noted you used the MAPS and PATH- did you use any other person centered tools that proved effective for you?

Charlotte  Spinkston

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Charlotte Spinkston

I absolutely love the PCP process! We collaborate with our teacher support program at ECU to facilitate PCP sessions. We use the MAPS tool and it is amazing what we accomplish for our youth. One PCP that I facilitated had over 15 people around the table. We completed an action plan and 6 months later followed up and every action step had been completed! We include the youth within their plan and they too have tasks to complete. We receive creative brainstorming ideas from church members, family and friends and especially teachers! You always run into someone that knows someone that may be willing to hire or allow the youth to volunteer at their company or community center, etc. We rely on our Voc Rehab counselors to help but it is a team effort, including the family and friends. I believe that the PCP process is successful because it involves individuals that know the child and are willing to help the child transition to adulthood and add value to society. The secret is in the implementation of the action plan!

Debra Pickens

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Debra Pickens

NCDB : The Research Institute : Western Oregon University : 345 N. Monmouth Ave. : Monmouth, OR 97361
Contact Us: 800-438-9376 |

Tour This Page Website Help
Help for this page

Help Guides & Tutorials