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Person Centered Thinking Training

Updated February 28, 2012

Curriculum Description
Developed by The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices

This 2-day training serves as a foundation and philosophical framework for everyone who is involved in supporting people with disabilities. Successful Implementation of person centered plans is more likely where staff members have participated in this training. The training in person centered thinking is recommended for all paid staff including those who are in administrative, management, direct and support roles.

Training in person centered thinking consists of 2 days of exercises where the participants acquire core skills in person centered thinking such as –

  • The importance of being listened to and the effects of having limited positive control
  • Learning to “listen” to people who don’t communicate in traditional ways
  • The role of daily rituals and routines
  • Discovering what is important to people
  • Sorting what is important for people from what is important to them
  • Respectfully addressing significant issues of health or safety while supporting individual choice and control
  • Developing goals that help people get more of what is important to them while addressing issues of health and safety


Day One

The focus of this day of learning is to provide participants instruction and ample practice in the processes and structures used to develop plans that support choice while addressing issues of health and safety. Through a series of applied stories and guided exercises, participants practice sorting information using the following frameworks:

  • What is important to a person and what is important for a person
  • Core responsibilities for those who provide support; when judgment and creativity is expected; what is outside the responsibility of paid staff
  • What makes sense and what doesn’t make sense, and recording this information from a variety of perspectives
  • Aspects to consider when matching people who receive supports with people who provide supports


This day of activities relies on group work and discussion.

Day Two
The focus of this day is to provide instruction regarding key principles of person centered thinking as applied through person centered planning. Participants develop their skills in person centered thinking through a series of guided exercises, done in pairs with a fellow participant.  Through directed conversation, listening, sorting information, and writing down what they have learned about their partner, participants practice skills required when developing a person centered ISP.  At the end of the day participants have completed their first plan – on themselves.