Robust person-centred planning is a critical part of identifying the aspirations of a person with a disability. It provides an opportunity for the person to express themselves and be heard. Nobody’s future should be determined by the assumptions of others, no matter how well meaning.
What is person centred planning? It is a planning process that puts the person at the centre of the planning:
- What they want (eg work in a shop, social life, recreational activities, likes and dislikes, people they like to have around them, live in a flat……)
- What suits them (eg work part time, go to local gym and library, carers who are calm and quiet rather than bubbly and talkative, going out dancing)
- Supports that are needed to achieve…
The person can express their aspirations and goals. The plan should be broad and encompass all aspects of their life. Some might be longer term, and some goals may be more immediate. Some goals may never be fulfilled, but we all have our daydreams, and sometimes daydreams become reality.
Why is it important to do this? Most young people do not require such a formal person centred plan, but everyone has one – it exists mostly in our heads. Most people think and plan and do these things without writing them out in a plan as such.
For a young person with a disability this might not happen. There may be many reasons why this typical informal planning does not occur for a young person with a disability. It is a good idea to write down – involves more supports, may require specific strategies, need your network to help with brainstorming and coming up with ideas.
What does a good plan include?
A good plan is developed with your child or young person and is something that they have contributed to and feel happy with. Their plan should express your child’s goals and preferences, their needs and aspirations, and identifies some options for after their school years which will help them get where they want to go.
The plan should focus on following your child’s interests and abilities, and also include what they want to do and be in their community (both local and broader), the friends and networks that they have, and exploring how they can build on this.