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Who can help you plan?

Most people find that it can be very helpful to invite others to help them plan. This gives you the benefit of different perspectives.


You are the starting point for all planning. You will direct the planning process, which often happens with the help of family and friends. Because it is about your life, it is your plan.

Each of us has our own way of involving others in the decisions we make. Some are formal and some are informal. The important thing is that you have others to count on.


Family Members

Family members are some of the best people to be involved in the planning process because they care about you, and they may have a lot of experience with you. Family members could include your mother, father, grandparents, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousins or your step-family.

Networks and Circles of Support

Sometimes, people with disabilities have a support network or circle of support made up of people who care about you and your future. People in support networks or circles of support could include members of your community such as:

  • friends
  • friends of family
  • neighbours
  • people from your faith or church community
  • people your age

Having a network or a circle of support just means that you can count on a certain group of people (friends and family) who will meet with you to help figure out what you want and how to get it. Building a network of support can be an important step in the planning process. Having people supporting you can help to make you feel safe and secure for the future. The very nature of relationships means that the more friends and family you have involved in your life, the safer you will be in community, the more people you have who are 'looking out for you.' More relationships also mean contacts with other community members and less isolation.

Other People

Sometimes there are people in your life who have information that could be useful to the planning process. These people might include: teachers, educational assistants, or support workers. The roles of these people are not to be decision makers in your life, but are to give you information that might help you make decisions, or to connect you with others who can assist you to reach your goals.


In many communities across Ontario there are people who are skilled communicators whose job it is to help people plan and think about their future. These people are independent of local service providers (that is, they do not work for organizations that provide services like group homes or day programs) and have experience working with people with disabilities and their families. These people are called independent facilitators.

Qualities of an Independent Facilitator

  • Deep listener
  • Creative
  • Good problem solver
  • Flexible
  • Trustworthy
  • Respectful
  • Honest
  • Reliable
  • Informed
  • Curious
  • Works well with many different people
  • Challenges status quo thinking
  • Accepting
  • Honours you as a decision maker (with the help of family)
  • Know that they work for you and with you

An independent facilitator is a 'neutral' person who can help you to plan your future. Although people who are already in your life can become facilitators, an independent facilitator is committed to support you to ensure that the process of planning includes information on which a future in community can be built.

The facilitator works directly for you and your family. These are some of the things a facilitator might do:

  • Get to know you well
  • Bring people together (may even do the asking)
  • Share information about resources in your community
  • Facilitate 'networks' and relationship development
  • Build on your strengths, capacity and abilities in order to create a plan to help build a good life
  • Ensure your voice is heard in the planning process
  • Ensure that family and friends also have a say during the planning process
  • Ask questions that helps you explore a lot of different possibilities
  • Listen to the many different ways that you communicate
  • Create a written or visual record of the plan
  • Ensure the plan includes a clear action plan
  • Help you make sure people are doing what they said they would do