Our clients are adults with developmental/intellectual disabilities who seek independence and support. We work hard to be the vehicle for true community participation. Each of them are referred by the State of California's Regional Centers. Everyone has something to offer; especially those whose experiences include perseverance and struggle. The individuals we serve are no strangers to struggle but are too often not recognized for their contributions to family, community and society. LEAP strives to be a catalyst for change, highlighting the strengths, contributions, resilience, and determination of those with whom we work.
Throughout California and nationwide, persons with developmental disabilities have a long history of institutionalization, victimization, restriction of personal rights, and having others make decisions for them. We are committed to resurrecting personal rights and utilizing the individual’s strengths to actualize the life decisions our consumers want.
Anyone who leads a life of dignity and meaning takes risks.
Each of us, in the pursuit of jobs, our personal and romantic relationships, our leisure activities, and our adventures, has stepped into the unknown and risked failure, rejection, and even our physical well-being. Anything any of us have ever accomplished has come from some level of risk-taking. The benefits of succeeding in these situations, or from learning from our mistakes, are a crucial element in our development as independent people.
People who work and live with individuals with disabilities- usually with the best of intentions- often try to eliminate all of the risks and prevent any opportunities for failure in these individuals' lives. Some will even go to great lengths to prevent even minor failure, such as not allowing an individual with a developmental disability to lose at a minor board game. What can result is a life where an individual has never been tested, has never had the opportunity to grow, has never experienced the satisfaction of achieving something that was not certain to be achieved from the beginning.
Allowing individuals to take risks and step into the unknown is part and parcel with treating them as dignified adults. This is not equivalent to encouraging recklessness; allowing risk does not mean being unsafe or setting people up to fail. Rather, by supporting individuals in prudent risk-taking, and utilizing the wealth of teaching opportunities it unearths, we can bring meaning into peoples' lives. Providing them with the opportunity to try new things, test their limits, and discover capabilities they never knew they had will help them to achieve goals that enrich their lives.
Imagine for a moment what it would be like if you were never allowed to take a risk, if others made all of your decisions for you, if others, not you, had the last word on what you were capable of. You certainly wouldn't deserve such a life; nor do the people we support.
Eight Essential Hallmarks of Person Centered Planning
These eight hallmarks we feel are essential to the success of the person centered planning process. They are designed to achieve personal outcomes identified by the person themselves. Each hallmark has a set of performance indicators that help determine if you and people you support are moving forward in a manner that is truly person centered.
1. The person and people important to him or her are included in lifestyle planning, and have the opportunity to express preferences, exercise control and make informed decisions. Indicators include:
· The person and advocates participate in planning and discussions where decisions are made.
· A diverse group of people, invited by the person, assist in planning and decision making.
2. The person’s routine and supports are based upon his or her interests, preferences, strengths, capacities and dreams. Indicators include:
· The person’s dreams, interests, preferences, strengths, and capacities are explicitly acknowledged and consequently their plan drives activities and supports.
· Supports are individualized and do not rely solely on preexisting models.
· Supports result in goals and outcomes that are meaningful to the person.
3. Activities, supports, and services foster skills to achieve personal relationships, community inclusion, dignity and respect. Indicators include:
· The person has friends, and increasing opportunities to form other natural community relationships.
· The person has a presence in a variety of typical community places. Segregated services and locations are minimized.
· The person has the opportunity to be a contributing member of the community.
· The person can access community-based housing and work if desired.
· The person is an engaged member within their community.
4. The person uses, when possible, natural and community supports. Indicators include:
· With the person’s consent, the support of family members, neighbors and co-workers is encouraged.
· The person makes use of typical community and generic resources whenever possible.
5. The person has meaningful choices, with decisions based on his or her experiences. Indicators include:
· The person has opportunities to experience alternatives before making choices.
· The person makes life-defining choices related to home, work and relationships.
· Opportunities for decision-making are part of the person’s everyday routine.
6. Planning is collaborative, recurring, and involves an ongoing commitment to the person. Indicators include:
· Planning activities occur periodically and routinely. Lifestyle decisions are revisited.
· A group of people who know, value, and are committed to serving the person remain involved.
7. The person’s opportunities and experiences are maximized, and flexibility is enhanced within existing regulatory and funding constraints. Indicators include:
· Funding of supports and services is responsible to personal needs and desires, not the reverse.
· When funding constraints require supports to be prioritized or limited, the person or advocates make the decisions.
· The person has appropriate control over available economic resources.
8. The person is satisfied with his or her activities, supports, and services. Indicators include:
· The person expresses satisfaction with his or her relationships, home, and daily routines.
· Areas of dissatisfaction result in tangible changes in the person’s life situation.