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The Introduction to PCP Module describes the value of person-centered planning as a thorough, positive, collaborative, fluid process that provides a total picture of a learner. It is useful as a basis for both educational and life planning by providing a learner's team with valuable information and ideas. The learner and his or her family become the "keepers of the maps". The maps become a roadmap for the future and, along with the chart paper, the keepers of the maps gain a group of persons committed to accompanying them on their journey through school and beyond.

A person centered plan is not a magic wand, however. Knowing what you want and making it happen are two different things. Concrete action steps keep the plan moving forward. Someone will be needed to keep tabs on progress and provide gentle nudges when needed. It will be beneficial to review certain maps every year (preferences and communication for example) and others at key transition times. These could include moving to a new school or city, following a major family event, introducing the learner to new service providers, facing health challenges, starting kindergarten or entering the world of adult services.

Ongoing information, action and support are the "process" pieces of what has been described. New action plans will replace those whose steps have been achieved. Long term goals will be moved from the back burner as shorter term goals are met. Teams will grow and change to meet the needs of the learner and his or her core support group.

More can be learned about sustaining the person centered planning process over time in the module titled, "Using & Sustaining a Person Centered Planning Process for Education & Life Planning". As a review of this module and given the visual nature of person centered planning, it seems fitting to close with a visual reminder of the process.



Additional Resources

A Brief Guide to Personal Futures Planning: Organizing Your Community to Envision and Build a Desirable Future with You. This downloadable manual was developed by Kate Moss & David Wiley for the Deafblind Outreach program of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. It describes personal futures planning in detail and is particularly useful for planning life after leaving school.

Beth Mount: Person Centered Design
Beth Mount’s website provides a variety of information, tools and products related to person centered planning.

North Carolina Deaf-Blind Project (NCDBP)
The NC program that is part of the federally funded Deaf-Blind Technical Assistance Network. Sandra Warren, Co-Director
Andrea Blackwood, Technical Assistance Coordinator

National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
The national center funded by OSEP (Office of Special Education Programs) as part of its Deaf-Blind Technical Assistance Network.

Person Centered Planning
PCP samples from FACT, Oregon’s Parent Training and Information Center. The PCPs are from learners of all ages and include samples in Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese.

Person Centered Planning: Key Features and Approaches
A twelve-page article by Helen Sanderson that provides an overview of person centered planning. Commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2000).

Person Centered Planning: More Information
PCP information and resources for families, gathered by Shelly Voelker, Family & Information Specialist from the Florida/Virgin Islands Deaf-Blind Collaborative.

Overview of the PCP Process
A one-page handout that uses graphics and brief descriptions to introduce the PCP process.

Steps in the PCP Process
A one-page handout that review the steps in the PCP process, beginning with Assembling the Team and ending with Revising Maps.



Blessing, C., Dox-Griffith, C., Gold, M., Levitz, B., Reynolds, S., and Ricigliano, J. (2000). Infusing a person-centered approach into transition planning for students with developmental disabilities. Albany, NY: New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, sponsored by the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

Bradley, V., Ashbaugh, J., and Blaney, B. (Eds.) (1994) Creating individual supports for people with developmental disabilities. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

Connor, C., Fichera K., and Dreilinger, D. (2003) More than just a job: Person-centered career planning, Institute brief 16. Boston, MA: Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Falvey, M., Forest, M., Pearpoint, J., & Rosenberg, R. (1995) All my life’s a circle: Using the tools: Circles MAPS & PATH. Toronto, ONT: Inclusion Press.

Forest, M. and Pearpoint J. (2001) Common sense tools: MAPS and CIRCLES for inclusive education. In Inclusion papers: Strategies to make inclusion work. (pp. 40-56). Toronto, ONT: Inclusion Press. Retrieved from

Forest, M. and Pearpoint J. (1993) Common sense tools: MAPS and CIRCLES for inclusive education. In The Inclusion Papers: Strategies to make inclusion happen. Pearpoint, J, Forest M., and Snow, J. Toronto, ONT: Inclusion Press.

Holburn, Steve & Vietze, Peter M. (2002). Person-centered planning: Research, practice, and future directions. Baltimore, MD: Paul H Brookes.

Kim, K.H., & Turnbull, A. (2004). Transition to adulthood for students with severe intellectual disabilities: Shifting toward person-family interdependent planning. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 29, 53-57.

Mount, Beth [Open Future Learning]. (April 24, 2013). Person Centered versus System Centered [Video file]. Retrieved from

Mount, Beth [TEDxCreativeCoast]. (June 4, 2012). Beautiful Justice [Video file]. Retrieved from:

Mount, B. (2000) Person-centered planning: Finding directions for change using personal futures planning. Amenia, NY: Capacity Works.

Mount, Beth (1992) Person-centered planning: Finding directions for change using personal futures planning, A sourcebook of values, ideals, and methods to encourage person-centered development. New York, NY: Graphic Futures, Inc.

Mount, Beth and Zwernik, Kay (1988). It’s never too early, it’s never too late: A booklet about personal futures planning. St. Paul, MN: Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.

O'Brien, J. (1987). A guide to lifes-style planning: Using the Activities Catalog to integrate services and natural support systems. In B. Wilcox & G.T. Bellamy (Eds.), The Activities Catalog: An alternative curriculum for youth and adults with severe disabilities (pp 175-189). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes

O'Brien, C.L. and O'Brien, J., (2002) The origins of person-centered planning: A community of practice perspective. Decatur, GA: Responsive Systems Associates, Inc.

O'Brien, J. and O'Brien, Lyle C. (2002) Implementing person-centered planning: Voices of experience. Toronto, ONT: Inclusion Press.

O'Brien, J. and O'Brien, Lyle C. (1988). A little book about person-centered planning. Toronto, ONT: Inclusion Press International.

Pearpoint, J., O’Brien, J. & Forest, M. (1993) PATH: A workbook for planning positive possible futures. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Inclusion Press.

Person-centered planning: A tool for transition, Parent Brief. (2004). Minneapolis, MN: National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET), Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota and PACER center.

Shepherd Furney, K., Carlson, N., Salembier, G. Cravedi-Cheng, L. and Blow, S. (1994). Making dreams happen: How to facilitate the MAPS process. Vermont’s Transition Systems Change Project: Burlington, VT. Adapted from O’Brien, J. and Forest, M. with Snow, J. and Hasbury D. (1989) Action for Inclusion. Toronto, ONT: Frontier College Press.

Sax, Karen and Thoma, Colleen. (2002) Transition Assessment: Wise Practice for Quality Lives. Baltimore, MD: Paul H Brookes.


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