Here are some answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions! If we don’t have the answer you’re looking for, contact us!
My service provider or school team tell me they do person-centered planning. How is this different?
I love person-centered planning because I know how it changes lives, so I get really excited to learn that others who may be on your teams have learned these tools. Everyone benefits! I believe that to truly honor and provide a ‘person-centered’ approach, plans should be facilitated by professionals who are not also stakeholders in the focus person’s life; that includes school or provider teams, even family and friends, who are familiar with the person or play any kind of role in decision-making, service levels, supports and so on. If your facilitator is also bound by any system or service, or is too comfortable and may speak for a person without allowing the person’s voice to be heard (out of habit or a sense of protection), then the person’s true vision and voice may go unheard. It no longer is truly person-centered.
What age should my child be to do a person-centered plan?
A plan can be done at any age, but you and your child will most benefit when a transition will be happening within the next 5 years. I highly recommend them for children within a year of entering Middle School or High School, and beginning at age 14-16 for adult transition. Adults can receive a plan at any time; often my clients are preparing for changes in their future such as moving, changes in supports (for people receiving disability or mental health services), divorce, marriage, or becoming caregivers to an aging or disabled loved one.
Is this the same as an IEP or ISP?
No. The ISP and IEP are agreements for services between a school or service provider and the individual being supported. A Person-Centered Plan is not an agreement and is in no way legally binding; nor is a Plan managed or overseen by anyone except the individual and their loved ones! Plans are, however, often shared with schools or service providers and used to help shape IEPs or ISPs. For this reason, I recommend that school, agency or service representatives attend the main PCP meeting; their participation often provides benefits to the IEP/ISP process.
Can you conduct the plan at my school?
Yes! I am always encouraged by families who arrange for Plans to take place at schools so that team members can be involved. The outcomes are always improved when educators are invested. I am happy to conduct Plans at public or private, day or residential programs.
Will you come to my IEP or ISP meetings?
I do not attend IEP or ISP meetings. Communicating the vision, goals and action items identified in your person-centered plan is up to the individual and the family. I provide a summary of your Plan following your main meeting. I encourage you to share this document with friends, family and anyone who is providing services or supports to your child.
Will you come to my home?
Yes, I can. I do have a list of locations available across Massachusetts if you’d like to choose one. I have conducted Plan meetings in libraries or other community settings. I can also work with you to find a location in the community where the individual receiving the plan lives.
What is a Circle of Support?
This is both the most challenging and the most important element of a PCP. In the U.S. our culture is one of self-dependence and self-reliance, we try to do everything ourselves; we think that asking for help is a sign of weakness rather than strength. I often hear “my child (and my family) have no support system.” In our first meeting, called the pre-meeting, we discuss this in length. I help my clients consider inviting people to join a Circle of Support who they may not have considered. We discuss the elements of the Circle and help people understand the roles others can play. We talk about the future and the importance of creating a sustainable Circle that provides the necessary supports to ensure the person’s quality of life. Read more about Circles of Support.
What items and documents will I receive during this process?
During our first meeting, called the pre-meeting, you will receive a welcome packet containing our contract and general information about the person-centered planning process. After your pre-meeting, you will receive a short summary of the items we discuss. At the second meeting, called the main meeting, you will receive all of the charts and notes that are taken during the main meeting; then, shortly after your main meeting you will receive a summary report. After your third and final meeting (the post-meeting), you will receive another short summary of the items discussed then; these are followup items to the main meeting.
What is the difference between a plan and hiring you for consultation?
If you are a self-starter or feel you’d like to wait before going ahead with a full person-centered plan, I have a number of tools I can guide you through to create your own, custom guides, presentations and materials. These are used to present visions, guide caregivers, introduce people to you or your child, help with conflict resolution or improve communication. Whether you are a parent or caregiver, teacher or other education professional, therapist, advocate or mentor, I can help you help yourself and those you support and love. Consultation is provided at an hourly rate.