Person-Centered Planning for Adults with IDD

Person-centered planning is a popular planning model used within the IDD space because it gives the individual with a disability as well as family, friends, and service providers the opportunity to collaborate and ensure that the individual’s needs and goals are met. Person-centered planning gives adults with IDD the space to tailor their participation and growth within the community.

You’ll often find that organizations start person-centered planning shortly after eligibility for a program or home is determined. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at what person-centered planning looks like and its benefits.  

Person-Centered Planning Characteristics 

There are key elements that distinguish person-centered planning from other types of traditional planning that are system-centered. In a system-centered approach, goals and services are pivoted at the discretion of a medical team and without consideration of the individual’s opinions and preferences. Person-centered planning aims to embrace self-determination as the basis of recovery within the community and what is needed to thrive. 

Some characteristics of a person-centered planning process include:

  • Members of the planning team (friends, family) are decided by the individual in need of services.
  • Ensure the transparency of necessary information to empower the individual in leading the planning process to the fullest extent, facilitating informed choices and decisions.
  • Meetings are fully accessible whether that be by day, time, or location. 
  • Take cultural considerations into account by presenting information in plain language and in a manner that is easily understandable and accessible to both the individual and those with limited English proficiency.
  • Be prepared for any disagreements that may arise during the process and have the appropriate strategy for resolution. 
  • Outline the steps that will be taken should an individual propose to update their plan
  • Documentation of preferences for all included in providing and coordinating care

Why this approach works 

Person-centered planning maximizes individual decision-making and has shown improved outcomes in health and life within the community. Strengths, unique goals, and interests are conveyed throughout the plan to help determine appropriate services and result in enhanced quality of life. In addition to supporting the individual, this plan also makes it possible for family members and others to actively participate in their loved one’s journey. 

One highlight in particular that some individuals have expressed about this planning is that it emphasizes abilities rather than symptoms. This leads to self-empowerment and the cultivation of a meaningful life with dignity. 


  • Supports the transition through different life stages 
  • Creates a supportive and engaging relationship with families and service providers
  • Improved service coordination and collaboration
  • establishes a clear understanding between all parties involved
  • Increased satisfaction with services 
  • Adaptability and accommodations made to changing circumstances
  • Practicing self-advocacy 
  • Focusing on strength and abilities 

Overall, person-centered planning promotes the rights and dignity of adults with IDD, enabling them to actively participate in their own lives and make decisions that align with their values. It supports their overall well-being and helps create a more inclusive and supportive community.

Speak with your regional center service coordinator or service provider to further discuss and understand how to implement person-centered planning for your loved one.


Administration for Community Living 

Person‐centred care planning as foundational to clinical practice

Person Centered Planning

Project 10

San Andreas Regional Center Service Coordinators