The Dawn of Hope is a non-profit agency designated to provide a wide array of services to intellectually and developmentally disabled persons. Developmental disabilities are defined as those that become evident in childhood, that are expected to continue indefinitely, that constitute a substantial handicap to the affected individual, and that are attributable to a number of different neurological conditions.
The agency offers a range of support services through day, employment and residential service programs. Through individualized person centered planning, service recipients are given opportunity to develop life skills and activities that promote meaningful existence.
Person-centered planning involves the individual receiving the service, with family members, neighbors, employers, community members, friends, and professionals (such as physician/ doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, support workers, therapists, and care managers) developing a plan of community participation and quality of life with the individual. This is in contrast to traditional models of planning which have focused on the person’s deficits and negative behaviors, thus labeling the person and creating a disempowering mindset from the start.
Person-centered planning offers an alternative to traditional models, striving to place the individual at the centre of decision-making and treating family members as partners. The process focuses on discovering the person’s gifts, skills and capacities, and on listening for what is really important to the person. It is based on the values of human rights, interdependence, choice and social inclusion, and can be designed to enable people to direct their own services and supports, in a personalized way.
It insists that discussion is centered on what the person indicates as important to them, with their words and behaviors, as well as what others feel is important for the person. It can engage participants personally by allowing them to hear of deeply felt hopes and fears. It can assist people in a circle of support to re-frame their views of the person it is focused on. It can help a group to solve difficult problems. It is our goal through person-centered planning to help those we serve to create new lifestyles, new homes and jobs, diverse kinds of support (informal and formal) and new social relationships.
The philosophical content expects services to be responsive to the needs of people that use the service, rather than prescriptive in the types of services offered. These principles are reliant on mechanisms such as individualized funding packages and the organizational capacity to design and deliver “support” services. As an organization providing services we have made a commitment to strive for person-centeredness in all activities, which we also hope will result in major changes in areas of practice such as recruitment, staff training, and business planning and management as well as providing caring individualized supports.