One critical component that was missing from our process of program development since the beginning of time was the vision planning meeting. In order to maximize the effectiveness of any Person-Centered Planning approach, the process of service and support provision must begin with a vision planning meeting. The purpose of the vision planning meeting is threefold. It allows us the opportunity to obtain a more holistic picture of the person, ensures that previously “missing” information is obtained relating to the individual, and ensures that staff are more prepared to actually assess and plan in accordance with the theory of person-centered planning.

To maximize the effectiveness of the meeting, it is conducted prior to beginning the formal Comprehensive Assessment Assessment (CFA). Conducting evaluations and planning objectives prior to a discussion with the person involved goes against the principles of person centered planning, the logical sequence of vision planning and common sense. According to the principals and logical thinking, it is impossible to conduct an assessment properly, write an evaluation and / or develop training programs for a person if you have not heard from them what it is that they want to do. Therefore, a principle systematic change was made to include a vision planning meeting which is organized as follows.

The meeting is held approximately six weeks prior to the scheduled staffing date. The purpose of the meeting is to build a relationship with the person, to explore his or her strengths, needs and interests, to identify a vision that is based on the person's strengths, needs, interests, values, aspirations, choices, etc., and to develop team unity toward making the person's vision a reality.

During the meeting, the team will work with the person and the person's family to establish a clear description of a life that is positive, productive and possible. To do this, the team will ask the person to choose where he or she wants to live and with what, he or she wants to do with the majority of his or her time (eg, voluntary activity), who he or she would like to spend time with (friends), what types of things he or she would like to do for fun (leisure time), what things he or she would like to learn and work to identify and clarify anything else that is important to the person . The individual's preferences and choices then became the basis for a clearly defined series of programmatic objectives, services and support that we provide to make their vision become a reality. The team will then begin to develop a comprehensive written plan to support the individual's vision for the future. We call this the Individual Support Plan.

Oftentimes it is somewhat of a difficult task to plan a vision and identify personal goals in certain cases. For example, with people who are verbal and can tell you what their goals are, all this may require is that you ask them where they want to work or live, what they want to learn, do for fun, etc. However, for those who are not expressively verbal, this information has to be inferior from personal knowledge of that person, information obtained from staff who know them well and / or family family as well as the needs assessment that we use. Also note that a bit of creativity usually needs to be applied in the cases of many vision planning activities.

In most cases, vision planning procedures with a general to specific pattern with vision statements being the most general, then personal goals at the next level, and finally training programs, service objectives and support, being the most specific. However, there are no rules that say a vision statement can not be a personal goal and thenby, an objective or support. For example, in the vision planning meeting, someone may say that they want to work in a grocery store as a stock clerk. In your assessment, you will want to verify with the person that it is an accurate goal. If so, there you have a personal goal for which to develop objectives. And, the objective could be to stock shelves with a certain level of independence. The vision and personal goals are the primary influencing factors in determining the overall direction for the development of specific training programs.