Person Centered Planning

What is person centered planning?

A person centered plan can help those involved with the focus person see the total person, recognize his or her desires and interests, and discover completely new ways of thinking about the future of the person.” — Beth Mount & Kay Zwernik, 1988

Person Centered Planning is an ongoing problem-solving process used to help people with disabilities plan for their future. In person centered planning, groups of people focus on an individual and that person’s vision of what they would like to do in the future. This “person-centered” team meets to identify opportunities for the focus person to develop personal relationships, participate in their community, increase control over their own lives, and develop the skills and abilities needed to achieve these goals. Person Centered Planning depends on the commitment of a team of individuals who care about the focus person. These individuals take action to make sure that the strategies discussed in planning meetings are implemented.


To look at an individual in a different way.
To assist the focus person in gaining control over their own life.
To increase opportunities for participation in the community.
To recognize individual desires, interests, and dreams.
Through team effort, develop a plan to turn dreams into reality.

How do you know it’s person centered planning?

• There is a guiding vision evident

• It is rooted in respect for the person and a commitment to build inclusive communities

• Family members and friends are full partners

• The focus is on developing capacities

• Hopeful action happens

• Listening and learning continue

There are a variety of planning formats including:

• personal future plan


• Maps

• One page Descriptions/One page Profiles

• Person centered descriptions/Essential Lifestyle planning

• Group action