The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices is group of people working toward a vision of the world in which all people have positive control over the lives they have chosen for themselves. Most of us have worked to become trainers in the skills that we believe will help us move toward that vision – in person centered thinking skills and essential lifestyle planning. Most of us have jobs within the system that provides services to people who have disability labels. Typically these jobs include providing training and support in person centered planning and person centered approaches.
Some of us are people who use the services (self-advocates) and some of us are family members. All of us are connected by a shared commitment to helping people have positive control over their lives and to share what we have learned.
Our work consists of planning with individuals, training in how to write plans and in the skills needed to implement plans, and support for organizations that want to consistently use person centered practices and approaches. We help people develop plans that describe how they want to live and what we need to do to help them get the lives described. We plan with children, adults, and people who are aging. Most of the people we plan with have intellectual disabilities but many have other issues.
There are people within the learning community who are planning with people who have physical disability issues, mental health issues, and issues associated with aging. Some of the plans are very detailed and some are just 1 page. Most of these plans are within the “family’ of planning referred to as Essential Lifestyle Planning. Real examples of this planning is available here in our reading room.
We believe that everyone who uses disability services should have an opportunity to learn how to develop their own description of what is important to them and how they want to be served (their own plan). Where those who use services do not want to or cannot take a lead role in developing such a description, we believe that family members should have access to training and support in developing a description with them.
If those paid to provide support are to be helpful, they need to learn the skills required to make positive control a reality. We refer to these skills as person centered thinking skills and teach them in a 2 day course. However, simply offering training does not give those doing the day to day work the support that they need.
We have found that the use of these skills increases and makes a greater difference when those who are doing the work have opportunities to practice them and receive feedback. The people providing this feedback and praise are typically front line managers (and committed professionals) who have a coaching role. We refer to them as person centered thinking coaches and offer them training and support to aide their efforts.
You may be interested in reading some of the Success Stories in our reading room that have been shared by community members .