‘Person Centered Practice’, ‘Self Direction’, ‘Community Inclusion’ and ‘Participation’ are words we hear all the time. What does it really mean and how can we actually assist people have a life that reflects the rhetoric? I have seen many programs that sound great, using words such as these to describe what they do only to find, on inspection, that they are traditional, bland, provide grouped support and are wasting people’s lives. To move forward, we need to look beyond the typical menu of programs that services offer. So, how do we assist someone craft a purposeful individual life for themselves that meet their most pressing needs and aspirations?
We have to start with the person, appreciating who are they, what their life has been like thus far, what they need to do now and in the future, and what strengths, gifts and capacities they have.
Much person-centered planning now talks of these things, but how do we move this knowledge of a person beyond a document, into action? The knowledge of Role Theory and how to craft Valued Social Roles are wonderful tools to help us do that, this conference paper explores what a role is and how it can be applied to a person's life.