Done well over time, Person-Centered Planning and thinking reveals limits imposed by current structures and practices. Desire for support in a home of one’s own confronts services organised around group living. Desire for a real job confronts services organized to substitute for individualized, integrated employment.
Having heard these desires, those of us who offer services have a choice. We can reject what is important to people with a story of impossibility that justifies us in reproducing social exclusion: this person can’t be supported to live in her own home; the labor market won’t adapt to benefit from the work of that person. Or, we can choose to co-author a story of possibility where there has been none by entering a process of shared learning with those who trust us with a vision that takes us into relationships beyond our current competence. Thoughtfully choosing disruption through innovation brings us to a turning point.
The sensing journeys being organized by the New Paths to InclUsion Network are a vital resource for innovators at this turning point. Making the best of these opportunities means adopting an attitude of openness. Such openness is different from the mechanistic expectation that we will bring home the solutions to our problems or that our task is to note other’s imperfections. If we suspend our own current stories and demands and look with fresh eyes and open hearts at the worlds of participation that others are struggling to create, our journeys will enrich our own new stories.