What Does a Person-Centered IPP Look Like?

Have you heard? RCOC is rolling out a new person-centered IPP (Individual Program Plan) that we expect will take our service to people with developmental disabilities to a whole new level. However, if you haven’t undergone person-centered training, you might be wondering what a person-centered IPP looks like.

The most notable difference with the new IPP is the one-page description and photo that appear at the beginning of the document. Including a current photo is a simple, but meaningful, addition to emphasize the individual as a person. The one-page description will, among other things, speak to what’s truly important to the individual we serve. A couple examples can be things like the living situation they prefer, and daily routines that are important to them, but the possibilities to be included are endless. The new IPP will also sound more person-centered as Service Coordinators choose language that is clear, easy-to-understand, and focuses on the individual rather than labels.

RCOC’s embrace of person-centered thinking and planning started a year ago, when we began agency-wide training, and it represents a natural evolution toward a new way of thinking. Decades ago, regional centers followed a medical model in which people with developmental disabilities were viewed and treated as patients. Then, with self-determination, we shifted to a consumer model that recognized the person with disabilities as central to the planning process. With today’s person-centered model, we are in some ways reflecting broader societal trends toward ever-greater personalization of products and customization of services, as well as a focus at the State and Federal level on person directed services and informed choice.

The new IPP and person-centered tools and techniques we’re using will enhance – not replace – existing processes, and will encourage new ways of thinking about how we can meet people’s needs. The feedback we’ve received so far has been very encouraging, but we know we have more to learn. So, as we endeavor down this exciting new road together, I encourage you to share your impressions about the new IPP process with your Service Coordinator as you learn about them (with nearly 21,000 IFSP’s and IPP, the transition can easily take a year or so). We all want to know what you think!