Person Centered Planning Comes to Life through Art.
“The Art and Soul of Person Centered Planning” was the third in a series of workshops presented by Merakey AVS as part of its organizational transformation initiative. The session on June 6 at Beth El Congregation of the South Hills drew more than 120 professionals, family members and community representatives. The series is supported by the Polk Foundation.
“Person centered planning builds upon ways persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities can move away from human service settings to typical community places. Offering a range of choices that are self-determined enables them to fill more valued social roles and build their capacity to explore, discover and act with purpose in life,” said Staff Development Executive and Program Transformation Project Lead Carol Erzen. Through this approach, the wants and needs of the individual, rather than the requirements of the service delivery system, are used to create a plan for the future.
Presenter Carol Blessing, LMSW, Senior Extension Associate, Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, ILR School/Cornell University, laid the foundation for the workshop citing Dr. Beth Mount, a noted expert on person centered planning (PCP) – and a participant in the Merakey IDD Program Transformation initiative. Dr. Mount’s work emphasizes that all people are born with gifts, talents and purpose; each person has a right to equal access to opportunities to explore and discover their gifts, talents and purpose and be contributing members of their community. Ms. Blessing explained that identifying qualities, passions, skills and talents, hobbies and interests engenders a sense of belonging, being respected, and a sharing of ordinary places. Contributing, choosing and community participation leads to valued social roles, community presence, competency, and autonomy for the person – what author John O’Brien calls ‘valued outcomes.’
Presenter Mary Jo Caruso, M.Ed., Training/Assistance Coordinator, Friends National Center for Community Based Child Abuse Prevention, a Federal Children’s Bureau service, introduced graphic facilitation, a tool for learning and applying basic skills used in person centered planning. Graphic facilitation develops capacity to listen ‘under the words’ and draw out the deeper messages. Ms. Caruso challenged the attendees to rediscover their capacity to create effective visual representations of PCP meetings or conversations. To demonstrate, she asked participants to create traditional descriptions of themselves and then express the words, traits and identifiers in symbols or pictures.
The “creation of a story without words” or graphic recording, allows people to interact with the material generated resulting in a creative, productive and satisfying shared experience for all, especially the focus person. “The mix of the visual and dialog is a great way to learn about someone’s present life and future goals. The interaction allows them to take charge of what they want out of life,” commented attendee Rachel Carretta, an occupational therapy doctoral student at Duquesne University.
The next workshop in the series is on Tuesday, September 3, from 9:30am – 3:30pm at Rodef Shalom Congregation (4905 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA) with David Pitonyak presenting “The Importance of Belonging.” For more information about the program transformation initiative contact Carol Erzen, Staff Development Executive and Program Transformation Project Lead (firstname.lastname@example.org). This project has been made possible by a grant to Merakey AVS from the Polk Foundation.