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What is included in a plan?

Sometimes, people use certain tools to help them with their person-directed plan. You can learn about some of these tools at the back of the Guide. The planning process captures information and explores possibilities. There are conversations that you can have which will be useful in moving you from thinking about things to taking action in order to build a good life for yourself (moving from ideas to action). Some of the things you will want to think about during a planning process are included below.


A vision is often referred to as the dreaming part of the planning process. If you had everything you needed, what would your life look like? When you are creating a vision for your life it is important not to get stuck on how you will reach your dream. A vision or dream holds the values and what is important in the distant future. It reflects your interests and what is really important to you. It reflects your identity of who you are and who you want to become. Dreaming is key to building a good life-what do you think is possible?

"I want to wake up to a good day, every day!"


Moving from ideas to action

As part of developing a vision, you will want to begin to think about …

What does a good life look like for you?

What are the things that you do not want to happen to you? (fears)

Where you are now at this point in your life and where you want to be in the future.

Getting to Know You

The plan includes information about who you are. It reflects your personality, lifestyle, cultural background, and interests.

  • important celebrations/traditions
  • history
  • rhythm or pace of life
  • favourite things
  • likes
  • dislikes
  • important routines
  • qualities
  • health
  • gifts, talents and life purpose
  • particular vulnerabilities

Moving from ideas to action

As part of the getting to know you section, you will want to begin to think about …

  • What is important about all these things listed?
  • What about this list do you want others to remember as they help you create meaningful days for yourself?
  • What is your life like now?
  • What do you value about your life today and how will you use this information as a foundation for your future?

About your relationships

"It will soon be Lisa's birthday. As her family and friends, we will help her invite her neighbours to an open house party. It will be the beginning of knowing and understanding each other."


A plan also includes who is in your life right now. Everyone has a need for relationships. The planning process will allow people who know you to help you to use your gifts and talents in the best possible way. You may find that planning can help you to think about your relationships, increase the number of relationships and strengthen the relationships you already have. It is good to know who can be counted on in good times and even not so good times in our lives. Thinking about relationships is a good way to discover who you might want to get to know better and who you might be able to spend some time with. This would include:

  • new relationships (where and how can I meet more people?)
  • past relationships (who from my past do I want to see again or see more of?)
  • friends (who do I already know, and who I want to spend more time with?)
  • people I want to get to know better (who are the people in my life that I want to get to know better?)
  • family (how do I stay connected to immediate and extended family members?)
  • acquaintances (how do I increase my social contact with others?)
  • co-workers/co-volunteers (how might I become more socially involved with my peers at my job or in my volunteer work?)
  • neighbours (what can I do to be more neighbourly and come to know my neighbours better?)

Moving from ideas to action

As part of building relationships, you will want to begin to think about …

  • What relationships do you want to nurture and explore?
  • What things can happen now to strengthen the relationships that you have in your life?
  • Based on your vision, consider who might understand what you desire? How could you connect with them?
  • What support do you need to build more relationships in your life?
  • How will you begin?

Your gifts, talents and abilities

"James has an incredible curiosity and interest in architecture. Autism affects his life in ways that people don't easily understand his language. I knew that an architect would understand James' fascination with buildings. I introduced James to a local architect who was happy to hang out with him for a couple hours a month."


The plan includes information that identifies and builds on the positive aspects of who you have become. This includes:

  • your admirable qualities
  • your strengths
  • things that you are particularly good at- talents
  • what you bring to others-your contributions
  • the way you are with others- your gifts
  • things you would like to try
  • great things about you
  • things others count on you for
  • things you enjoy doing

Moving from ideas to action

As part of building on your gifts and talents, you will want to begin to think about …

  • Who are the people and where are the places in your community that will understand value and welcome each gift, talent, and ability that you have?
  • Who really needs you to assist them in what they do?
  • What do you and others need to do to make this possible? (introductions, information sharing, résumé)

How you communicate

It is important that others understand how you communicate your decisions about what you want and what you need. It is also important that you feel others understand the way you communicate the choices you are making in your life? You may want to have those who support you to think about how this understanding could be improved? You may or may not use words but either way those who listen closely and carefully will be able to understand you.

Your participation and contribution

Exploring and knowing your community is a good way to discover possibilities. A plan describes the places and ways that you are now involved, and ways that you can be involved in your community in the future. Person-directed planning is a way to brainstorm, explore, and expand the roles that you already play and those that you would like to play in your community.

The plan would include places:

  • that you now go to regularly
  • where you can learn
  • where you can volunteer
  • where you can work
  • where you can become a member
  • that are nearby in your neighbourhood
  • that gives you a sense of belonging.

Moving from ideas to action

As part of planning your participation and contribution, you will want to begin to think about …

  • community - what community places do you use?
  • learning - what do you need/want to learn and how might you learn it?
  • working/volunteering - who could use your talents, or who could you share your talents with?
  • neighbourhood - how can you be more active in your neighbourhood?
  • membership - what club or group would you enjoy joining in the community?
  • work -what are the places where you may want to work in your community?
  • activities -what kinds of events and activities would you enjoy participating in?

Your needs

"It is often during the planning process that many people figure out exactly what they need and the way that they need it. It makes it easier for everyone when the person is clear about the supports they require to get on with their day."


The plan includes information about what you need in order to build a good life in community. The needs you have will be unique to you. Some examples of needs might be:

  • daily routines
  • health
  • transportation
  • experience
  • safety and security
  • teaching and training
  • coaching
  • relationships
  • support
  • skills

Moving from ideas to action

As part of recognizing your needs, you will want to begin to …

  • think about how to identify your needs as they relate to your vision and goals
  • figure out the support you may require to address your needs
  • identify obstacles to the life you want
  • create positive action.


Setting goals is a way to make your dreams, hopes and desires become a reality. You will begin to think about how you will accomplish the things you want in your life. You will begin to figure out what you want to begin today and what you will do sometime in the future. You will begin to identify those who can help you, ways to overcome any barriers, and what you expect to achieve (outcomes).

Moving from ideas to action

As you develop goals, you will want to begin to think about …

  • where and with whom can you share your time?
  • how you can use your gifts and talents?
  • what roles are there for you in the community? (i.e. employee, volunteer, club or group member etc.)
  • what experiences do you want to have?
  • who needs you and your skills and abilities?
  • what do you still need to learn?
  • how will you spend your days, your evenings, and your weekends?

Setting your goals

Be as specific and as realistic as possible about what you want to achieve. It is usually good to start with just a few goals. As you begin to accomplish them, you can add others. There is not a certain number of goals that you should have. The right number of goals will be what you think you can manage.

In the following tables, general goals have been made more specific by thinking about something that someone really wants to achieve, who will help them and by when.

Examples of general goals

Examples of specific goals for John
set by John and his network

Who will do what by when

To find a way to make money (3/4 time)

  • contact local employment support program
  • write and deliver résumés around town
  • become a volunteer at the library
  • Judy - July 20th
  • Judy - July 20th
  • support worker - immediately

To keep learning new things

  • to the library 3 x's per week to read the newspaper and sports magazine
  • attend a woodworking course
  • join a literacy/numeracy class
  • Uncle Liam - September
  • Joe - next semester
  • support worker - immediately


Examples of general goals

Examples of specific goals for Sally
set by Sally and her network

Who will do what by when

To take part in everyday household activities

  • have regular chores to complete
  • pick up the mail each day
  • mom & dad - August
  • support worker - immediately

To be part of my local neighbourhood

  • stop and chat with my neighbours when I see them
  • volunteer at local community events (i.e. walkathon, canned food drive, etc.)
  • everyone - immediately
  • support worker - immediately


Examples of general goals

Examples of specific goals for Lionel
set by Lionel and his network

Who will do what by when

To develop a day that is meaningful to me

  • have an opportunity to experience many different things in my community (to further discover likes and dislikes)
  • everyone - immediately

To get help to stay healthy

  • begin to make healthy choices about what I eat
  • go to the doctor regularly
  • join a fitness class at the YMCA (introduce me to someone to share this class with)
  • my choice always
  • Mom - annual
  • Support worker - September (3x)

To be safe

  • purchase a cell phone with emergency numbers on speed dial (or beeper)
  • practice saying no
  • Dad - immediately
  • With everyone



I began going to the library with Uncle Liam in September. At first we sat all by ourselves and looked at the books. Then Uncle Liam began to invite an older man who was always there to sit with us. Now I look forward to going to the library with Uncle Liam. We always sit and read with Ken. Then we all go for coffee after we look at books.


It is by naming the things that you want to do that a plan leads to action. The planning process always includes an action piece about:

  • What is going to happen?
  • How it is going to happen?
  • Who will help make it happen?
  • When is it going to happen?

Person-directed planning processes
Always lead to Action.