Building a future: a study of student participation in person-centered planning

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Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps


This study used qualitative methodology to understand the participation of young people as they plan for their transition from school to adult life by using a person-centered planning process, specifically Whole Life Planning. Given the dynamic, interpersonal nature of person-centered planning, the study also examined the roles that others play in the process and how facilitators, family members, and other members of the young person's social network influence the focus person's participation. Findings revealed that student participation ranged from highly active to nonexistent across the observed planning meetings. The level of student participation was influenced by the student's conversational style, the size of the meeting, the level of abstraction in the planning discussions, and the expectations and behaviors of others.