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Person-Centered Supports-They're for Everyone

Our nation must empower and support all people with developmental disabilities to realize their own vision for their lives. To accomplish this, families, friends, allies, communities, provider agencies, professionals, advocates and government must work together to do whatever it takes to enable each individual to realize her/his unique vision. This will only happen when we put people with developmental disabilities first and support them one-person-at-a-time.

Person-centered supports are for everyone.


The fundamental principles of person-centered supports are . . .

Each person shall have the authority to define and pursue his or her own vision. Person-centered supports start with listening to the person and honoring each person's vision. The individual's vision must be honored, respected and supported. The goal must be to promote each person's empowerment, dignity and positive self-image.

People should be able to do what they want, when they want, with whom they want and as often as they want."

Self-determination is a must. People and families are entitled to the freedom, authority and support to control, direct and manage their own services, supports and funding. Individuals and families have the right to select their own services and supports as well as decide how and by whom supports are provided.

Personal relationships and community membership are valued. It is absolutely vital to promote the inclusion, presence and participation in community life for all individuals, at all ages and across all dimensions of life. People must be supported in their social and spiritual life, friendships, and intimate relationships.

"Self-Determination turns the system up-side down and puts people with disabilities at the top. It changes the way things are done so that we have choice and control." - Gail Bottoms

All networks and systems of support must collaborate in support of the person's vision. Families, neighbors, friends, coworkers, and classmates play important roles in the lives of people with developmental disabilities. These rich, vibrant networks of support connect people to their communities. Public systems must work hand-in-hand with these networks in supporting individuals.

People and families must participate as valued and empowered partners in all decision-making. People and families must have meaningful leadership roles at all levels. It is crucial that government, providers, and community organizations welcome, listen to and collaborate with people and families in solving problems, making decisions, and pursuing excellence.

"People who have control need to become listeners." - John Jordan

Individuals must have supports to contribute to their communities and engage in meaningful work. People with developmental disabilities want to and can make valuable contributions to their communities. There must be supports that assist people to make a difference. Youth and adults must be supported to have real jobs, earn money or run their own businesses.

Families are supported and valued. Families support people with developmental disabilities of all ages. Support networks must partner with families and offer critical services that not only address the needs of the family member with a disability but also support and strengthen the family itself. The unique needs and preferences of each family shall be acknowledged, respected and accommodated.

"Families know their family members better than anyone."

All people and families must have access to supports when and as they need them. Every individual must have easy and timely access to vital services and supports in order to achieve his or her personal vision and enjoy quality of life. There will be energetic outreach to all our nation's diverse communities so that they can access supports on their own terms.
The personal security and well being of people must be ensured. People must be secure in their own lives. They must not be exposed to neglect, abuse or exploitation. They must have high quality health care. Ensuring the personal security and well being must not sacrifice the right of individuals to live everyday lives of their choosing in the community, exercise choice and pursue their dreams and aspirations.
There must be a resolute, continuous commitment to achieve excellence in all dimensions of supporting individuals and families. High quality services enable people to realize their vision. Excellence in person-centered supports demands a strong, sustained commitment to securing and maintaining a high quality workforce, ongoing training and education, and continuous quality improvement. Individuals and families are essential partners in promoting excellence.



This web site is maintained by the Research and Training Center on Community Living with support from the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, the Human Services Research Institute and the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. E-mail weste050@umn.edu.
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