Families planning together

by Michael W. Smull, Mary Lou Bourne, Amanda George, and Shelley Dumas

Karrie is a young woman who is described by those who like and admire her as a helpful, hard worker, with great stamina. Not too long ago she was also seen (by the staff of the agency that supported her during the day) as someone who was difficult toemploy and who needed a behavior program. Karrie’s mother, Bonnie, is like many parents we have met. She didn’t agree with the agency staff. The Karrie that she knows and loves is someone that needs to have people who support her know how to approach her. Any job that she has must take into account who Karrie is and what she likes and dislikes. Through a process called “Families Planning Together,” Bonnie was able to gather what she and others who love Karrie have learned about Karrie over the years. Bonnie was not only able to develop a detailed plan that describes Karrie but also a one-page description of what should be present or absent in any job that Karrie does. Bonnie says, “This plan gives Karrie authority; it changes the way people are required to do things with Karrie. We have found that some providers are able and willing to do things the way Karrie needs, others still just want Karrie to conform to the way they do things.” Here’s the rest of the story. Families Planning Together