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The Center for Development and Disability

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Tanya Baker-McCue
Interim PFE Director

Marcy Hintz
School-to-Work Transition Lead/Statewide Project SEARCH Coordinator

Rebecca Roybal
Training and Technical Assistance Program Manager

Person Centered Assessment Tools


What is Person Centered Planning?

Person Centered Planning is a process, directed by the family or the individual-served, intended to identify the strengths, capacities, preferences, needs and desired outcomes of the individual. 

A person-centered assessment is a tool to elicit information about a person.  The tool is to be used for person-centered planning and collecting information that shall be included in the Individual Service Plan.


Examples of Person Centered Planning Tools

There are many types of person centered planning tools.  Here are a few examples:

      • My Star (ARCA)
      • Positive Personal Profile
      • PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope)
      • Person-Centered Assessment tool 
      • Vocational Assessment Profiles (VAP)
      • Agency Developed Tool

Minimum Requirements

      • Individual’s Background and Current Status,
      • Individual’s Strengths,
      • Individual’s Interests,
      • Conditions for Success to Integrate into the Community, including Conditions for Job Success (as applicable), and Support Needs for the individual. 
      • A person-centered assessment must include individual and/or family involvement. 
      • A career development plan should be in place for job seekers to outline the tasks needed to obtain employment and should be incorporated in the ISP as an Action Plan.

Best Practices

      • Assessments shall be performed in settings normally utilized whenever possible. 
      • Involve an experiential or discovery component, meaning that individuals with developmental disabilities experience community activities as a component of the assessment process.  Including the experiential component to the assessment process is recommended, but not required. 
      • Information from staff members who are closest to the individual and who know the individual the best should be included in the assessment.  Information gathered to compile the assessment should come from a variety of sources. 
      • Methods of gathering the needed information could include a document review, interviews, social or vocational observations in the community, a home visit and/or a team meeting.      


  • Discovery is another type of person centered planning that includes visits to the home, interviews and observations in the community.
  • Discovery is the essential first step in the customized employment process. 
  • Marc Gold's Discovery process uses descriptive writing to answer the question "who is this person?" and averages 25 hours over the course of several weeks.
  • Griffin Hammis'  Discovering Personal Genius focuses on connecting persons to community connections during discovery and answers the question "where will this person be at their best?"

Discovery Resources


CDD Information Network Library has a variety of books, DVDs and video tapes on person centered assessment planning:

  • All My Life's a Circle: Using the Tools--Circles, MAPS and PATH. New Expanded Edition / Falvey, M.; Forest, M.; Pearpoint, J.; Rosenberg, R.
  • The PATH & MAPS handbook ; Person-centered ways to build community / John O'Brien, Jack Pearpoint, and Lynda Kahn.
  • Facilitation for Inclusion with PATH & MAPS DVD (80 minutes)

Visit the CDD Information Network website for more information. 

Training Resources

Resources for Students