What is person-centered?

At Waves, we utilize a Person-Centered Approach with our programming, services, and interactions with the children and adults supported. What does that mean though? Simply put, a person-centered approach means that we address each individual as a whole person who is part of the decision-making process as it impacts their daily lives. While diagnosis, location, race, family, and other factors matter, we approach each person as a person FIRST. A big piece of person-centered approaches is the involvement of the individual  in decision-making processes. In the Waves Early Learning Program, our children are too small to communicate their goals, but their caregivers are actively involved in creating goals for the child. As the child grows, they become more active in that process. As adults, the individual is present for their goal-setting meetings. They share their goals and our staff is available to help create a roadmap to meet those goals.

Person-centered approaches are crucial when working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) as they prioritize the unique needs, preferences, goals, and abilities of each individual. Here are some of the key importance and benefits of person-centered approaches in this context:

1. Respect for Individual Autonomy: Person-centered approaches uphold the principle of respecting individual autonomy and self-determination. This means recognizing that individuals with IDD have the right to make choices about their own lives, including their daily activities, living arrangements, and social interactions.

2. Tailored Support and Services: By focusing on the individual, person-centered approaches allow for the customization of support and services to meet the specific needs and preferences of each person. This ensures that interventions are meaningful, effective, and aligned with the individual’s goals and aspirations.

3. Enhanced Quality of Life: Person-centered approaches aim to improve the overall quality of life for individuals with IDD by promoting their social inclusion, community participation, and overall well-being. By recognizing and addressing the individual’s unique strengths and interests, these approaches empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives.

4. Improved Communication and Collaboration: Person-centered approaches emphasize open communication and collaboration between individuals with IDD, their families, caregivers, and support professionals. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of partnership, trust, and mutual respect, leading to more effective support and better outcomes for the individual.

5. Empowerment and Self-Advocacy: By actively involving individuals with IDD in decision-making processes and goal-setting, person-centered approaches promote empowerment and self-advocacy. This empowers individuals to express their needs, preferences, and aspirations, and to advocate for themselves in various aspects of their lives.

6. Greater Social Inclusion: Person-centered approaches promote social inclusion by recognizing and valuing the unique contributions of individuals with IDD within their communities. By fostering meaningful relationships, connections, and opportunities for participation, these approaches help combat social isolation and promote a sense of belonging and acceptance.

7. Respect for Dignity and Rights: Person-centered approaches uphold the principles of dignity, respect, and equality for individuals with IDD. By recognizing their inherent worth and treating them as valued members of society, these approaches help combat stigma, discrimination, and marginalization.

Overall, person-centered approaches are essential for promoting the well-being, autonomy, and full participation of individuals with IDD in society. By placing the individual at the center of the support and service delivery process, these approaches empower individuals to live meaningful and fulfilling lives following their own preferences and goals.