Person-Centered Planning for Parents: MAPS Background and Action Steps

Brief Introduction: Person-centered planning is a strength-based technique that serves as a mechanism for securing the commitment of a collaborative team of individuals in supporting a focus person and his/her family. One example of a person centered planning tool that has emerged as particularly effective is the McGill Action Planning System (MAPS). MAPS is a strategy that brings together key players in a focus individual’s life to create a “roadmap” for collaboratively working toward and achieving dreams and goals of the focus person. MAPS is different from some other planning tools because participants focus on what the student can do, instead of dwelling on weakness.
Through a series of questions, individuals and organizations using MAPS help the focus person (i.e., child with a disability) construct a personal history or life story based on personal milestones. MAPS has an established framework of questions that address the focus person’s history, identity, strengths, gifts, and the nightmares and dreams of the focus person and his/her family. The MAPS process identifies where that focus person currently is, what the person’s goals are, and how the team will work together to help this person reach the goals. This information is then used to develop action steps for achieving the dreams and avoiding the nightmares.
The following article briefly outlines the MAPS process and includes the steps involved in performing a MAPS. Additional resources for the MAPS process, as well as reproducible materials and worksheets for developing a positive profile for a child are available at www.njcie.org as well as by contacting NJCIE.

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