Newsletter Bulletin, Volume 7: What does it mean to be ‘Person Centered’?

ACA has released Newsletter Bulletin, Volume 7 for our affiliate network. 

Read CEO Jay Nagy’s message below:

What does it mean to be "Person Centered"? 


“Person centered” is a phrase that has become so frequently used in our field that its exact meaning is not always immediately clear. Over the coming weeks and months, ACA will sharpen our collective definition of what it means to be “person centered” by working together to support our community. In the meantime, I want to share a brief video by Beth Mount that outlines some ideas for us to consider.

A key theme in the video is the contrast between system-centered and person-centered ways of thinking and planning. System-centered thinking is very much rooted in the “medical model,” which was repudiated with the closing of the state schools and the shift toward greater community integration. That framework focuses on someone’s deficiencies and aims to “fix” them.  Too many in our field still think this way.  While the status quo does an okay job for many people with I/DD, we can do better for all the people and families we serve.

We have the potential to accelerate this shift in thinking and practice, under conflict-free Care Management. Our starting point should always be a person's capacities. This is followed by an assessment of their community and natural supports, tied together with their life goals and dreams. When this becomes the experience for everyone enrolled in ACA, we will have achieved success.

—Jay Nagy, CEO