The first thing to think about when beginning to imagine the good life is to start with the person!
Person-directed planning is exactly as it sounds: the person directs the planning process. We think it’s important to put time aside to think deeply about family and friends, dreams, talents, passions and interests, favourite activities or hobbies, special possessions, and celebrations or anniversaries. The goals you set for a good life will have a greater chance of being achieved if you know as much about the person’s interests, skills and aspirations as possible.
When beginning to imagine better, and planning for a good life, we also think it’s important to try and take disability out of the equation. This means ‘thinking ordinary’, or in other words, think about how anyone else of a similar age or gender engages in the activities they enjoy, the places this may happen and with whom they do it. That’s not to say that the particular needs related to a person’s disability shouldn’t be considered, but we believe disability needs should not be the first or main focus of planning.
We think person-directed planning it is a useful technique because:
- it focuses on the person and their unique dreams, ambitions and skills
- it draws upon whānau and wider support networks
- it focuses on the development of relationships within the community.
It also assumes people with disability are capable of doing whatever they want as long as they have the support they choose and need. Person-directed planning assumes that the person is the best authority on his or her life and that a conversation with whānau, friends and wider networks can build upon this.