Yes! You can have FUN and still gather important information!
As a service coordinator, planning facilitator, case manager or service provider, making certain that the planning experience is enjoyable, meaningful, and focused on the person is a core responsibility.
Keeping people engaged and looking forward to planning is IMPORTANT TO and FOR everyone!
People and families may have had negative experiences in the past and you can make a difference by helping to create a planning experience they will enjoy!
Before you plan…
Make it a party… not a meeting. You will be more likely to get the information you need.
Make it a celebration of the person-people with disabilities are often not aware of their own worth. They don’t get to hear great things about themselves enough or have a chance to have some fun.
Get to know the person and their family BEFORE you get together. Have a pre-planning conversation to talk about what they can expect during the planning ‘party’. Work together to create the agenda. Learn about the person and find out what is important to them. Talk to the people who know them best and ask them who they want to help them plan.
Plan fun activities ahead of time. What would the person enjoy doing that would support them to be engaged and present in their own planning? Being supported to do something they enjoy while planning lets people know they are welcome and included in what’s happening, rather than being talked about or presided over.
Ask the person and their family what type of music they enjoy and create a playlist of that music. Music is a universal language that connects people to their bodies, their feelings, their culture and their traditions. Music can help people to feel comfortable and positive.
Identify a place to plan that is somewhere other than in an office. Have the person choose where and when. Get outside, go to a park, have a picnic, or organize a walk.
Keep the focus on the positive and the whole person. Share sensitive information and get reports ahead of time and in writing if possible. This saves time going over information that can be incorporated into the plan later. Focus on the person, not the reports!
Getting ready for the planning ‘party’
Decorate the planning space in their favorite colors with photos of the person, their family, friends, and pets. Include things that are important to them, their collections, their art, or work accomplishments.
Play the custom music play list you created with the person and their family.
Make a recording of the person doing things they love to do so everyone can enjoy watching it.
Make a scrapbook of activities and accomplishments to share with everyone.
Have the person’s favorite snacks available to share.
Include fun activities and involve the entire support team in these activities.
- Watercolor painting or drawing with markers.
- Paint fingernails
- Sing songs.
- Give hand massages with scented lotion.
- Share a favorite holiday even when it’s not actually the holiday, birthdays are always a favorite.
- Wear funny hats or costumes.
- Make a musical instrument to play along with music.
- Do karaoke.
- Make it a ‘dance party’ , play a music video and get everyone dancing in their own way.
Don’t be afraid to look silly or be the one to “step out” and do something different.
If you plan ahead, it does not have to take extra time. Work together with the entire support team and collaborate to create a special event!
We all share the responsibility for planning to be fun and meaningful. By working together across agencies to share information, we can create better plans that support a person to have the best possible life that THEY want!