The Family Panel on Transition panel last Tuesday night featured a family who went through a Person-Centered-Planning process for (and with) their daughter. It also included this student's transition teacher. The person-centered-planning process featured the student and her family, the student's teacher and also persons involved in various aspects of the student's life, such as her church and swim team. One thing that really struck me about this process was that the person-centered plan became the backbone of the student's IEP. The teacher noted that rather than spending two hours at her computer writing an IEP, she joined family and community members in brainstorming a transition plan together.
Because the planning process was led by an outside facilitator (another special education staff member), the teacher was able to take off her "instructor" hat and join the others in thinking both in and outside the box. The teacher noted that while the Person-Centered-Planning process took some time, the plan that was developed ended up "driving" the student's IEP, which took relatively little time to develop.
A great web site to learn about family-centered-planning is the Person Centered Planning Education Site sponsored by the Cornell University Employment and Disability Institute. The site features free online courses on the person-centered planning process, along with readings, links and downloadable resources.
In the "good timing department,the Multnomah Parent Action Committee, a member organization of the Family Action Coalition Team (FACT), is sponsoring "Creating a Plan for Your Child: A Person Centered Planning Workshop" in Gresham on March 8th. The Events link of FACT's web site lists details for the workshop. Please note that the workshop is free but registration is required and space is limited. The Multnomah Parent Action Committee is also sponsoring the same workshop in Portland later this month, but that event is already full. If you'd like to go to the one in Gresham you may want to register sooner rather than later.
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