Person-Centered Planning Tools & Resources
Individualized Education Plan
Individualized planning or "person-centered planning" is rapidly becoming more popular among organizations serving people with disabilities. If you are in school, the individualized plan is called an "IEP" or Individualized Education Plan. It is called the Individualized Plan for Employment if you are looking for a job.
Individualized planning methods may vary from agency to agency. The goal is always the same, to help a person accomplish or work toward the goals that fulfill their dreams, wishes and interests.
For many people with disabilities, a "circle of support", or "support team" plays a critical role in the person-centered plan. This circle identifies who takes part in the individual's life and defines what role each person plays. Ideally, the person for whom the plan is being developed will choose the individuals on the support team. These people should care about the individual and respect his or her wishes. These circles will almost always contain professionals who are paid to support the individual. However, the circle should not be exclusively made up of paid supporters. The supporter's role is to listen to what the individual wants and document ways to help him to realize his goals.
Professionals using this process should recognize that the ultimate goal of a person-centered planning process is to make a difference in the life of the individual. Individualized plans should be accessible to the individual for whom the plan is developed. When used properly, individualized planning will help empower individuals to take charge of their lives.
Back to Top
Person-Centered Planning Tools and Resources
Person-centered planning puts a person at the center of a plan. Often, plans for persons with disabilities are designed exclusively around the existing resources and services that are available. A person-centered plan starts with the person, and works to identify his or her dreams and goals. It does not rely on whether or not there is a program in place to address the individual's needs. Accepting the philosophy behind person-centered planning is more important than the form on which a plan is written.
A person-centered plan should have an action plan that defines exactly what will be done to achieve each goal. The plan must also anticipate what needs to done and in what order. This is the function of the action plan. Good documentation is required in order to obtain financing for the support teams.
The Person-Centered Planning Education Site
The Person-Centered Planning Education Site was developed by Cornell University. It is dedicated to teaching people how to use person-centered planning tools. Online courses facilitate and enhance your awareness of and appreciation for person-centered planning. These courses are free and include practice exercises and quizzes to test your knowledge.
The Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (Pacer Center, a national center based in Minnesota), assists parents in understanding the person-centered planning process. It includes important steps for developing any person-centered plan and links to current research materials.
Person-Centered Career Planning
The National Center on Workforce and Disabilities offers tips on using person-centered plans to support career development and planning.
Back to Top
Individualized Education Plan
See Guide to Education - Special Education Programs and Services
Transition suggests a change from one place or situation to another. Often, these changes can be very stressful. For the elderly, transition might involve moving out of a home and/or changing everyday routines and habits. It may also mean moving from living independently to living in an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Others may transition from their own home to living with a relative. Transition in some cases may also mean needing to become accustomed to a relative, nurses or other provider living or helping you in your home.
Most care facilities are very experienced in dealing with transition issues. They have a process in place to create a smooth transition into their facility. To learn more about long term care facilities see: Guide to Housing: Long-Term Care Facilities
Family transitions occur when individuals move in with relatives. These transitions present different issues. There are added responsibilities for all family members who need to make adjustments in their daily routines. Even if you choose to remain in your home, having caregivers in your life can also require an adjustment. In any case, the need for good working relationships becomes important. It is vital that you find an agency or case manager with whom you can work and trust.
Back to Top
Financial Planning/ Making a Budget
A good individualized plan will also contain an individualized budget. At a minimum, a budget should identify what funds are available, and the cost for required services and supports. Incoming money should include pay (including state assistance and services provided at no cost to you). Expenses should include housing costs, food, other essentials and money needed for entertainment.
Once your budget has been completed you may find that you do not have all the money needed to do everything identified in your personal plan. This should not discourage you. Uncovered expenses can become an item for your personal action plan. For example, if John wants to travel to California, but his budget will not cover the cost of a plane ticket, his team can work on finding low cost airfare, or finding a side job where he can make some extra money. A good budget gives you a place to start and lets you know how you are doing.
With Open Arms: Embracing a Bright Financial Future for You and Your Child
Easter Seals and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) have jointly published a financial planning guide for parents of children with disabilities and special needs. It is titled "With Open Arms: Embracing a Bright Financial Future for you and your Child".
Serving Special Needs Kids
Beyond Wills and Trusts provides valuable information for financial advisors who are helping families of children with special needs. Wills and trusts that are not established properly can sometimes result in a person with disabilities being ineligible for services later in life. This online article provides information and tips on creating a plan that will meet the whole family's future needs.
How to Create a Financial Plan
This information is useful for anyone preparing a financial plan. Whether you are developing a plan or identifying professionals to assist with a plan, this site can help you.