Person-centred reviews as a mechanism for planning the post-school transition of young people with intellectual disability

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Abstract

Background

Person-centred planning has played a key role in the transformation of intellectual disabilities services for more than a decade. The literature has identified clear advantages for service users when service delivery is planned around the individual rather than the user is made to fit into service structures. Researchers however have pointed out that there is a lack of evidence that person-centred planning positively influences outcomes for users.

Method

Our study examined the application of person-centred planning during transition for young people with intellectual disabilities. We investigated the nature and content of 44 person-centred reviews of transition planning for this population in a local authority in the UK. We carried out a documentary analysis of all person-centred plans and conducted telephone interviews with all families participating in the programme. We focused on the issue of attendance at review meetings and what was discussed during the meetings.

Results

Analysis of the data shows an increase in the participation of young people and carers at review meetings and a significant shift in topics discussed during the transition planning process compared with previous programmes. However, some of these effects may dissipate once young people are actually leaving school as planning well is not synonymous with having an improved range of placement options.

Conclusions

The findings suggest that person-centred planning can impact positively on some aspects of transition planning, while it may be too optimistic to expect radical improvement in other area. Key to further improvements is to complement person-centred planning with consistent involvement of all relevant stakeholders in planning for individuals.

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