You must be the change you want to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Michael Smull

Michael Smull

Person Centered Thinking and Planning for Everyone

There are universal questions that all of us seek to answer. They include:

  • What does a balanced life look like for me; a life where there is a balance between the all of the competing pressures, needs, and desires that I experience?
  • How do I help others understand how to support me in having that balance while recognizing my gifts and contributions?
While these are universal human questions, the more dependent we are on others for support, the more important the answers are. For all of us the answers are helpful, for people with significant disabilities the answers are critical. But learning the answers is only the first step, acting on the answers is as important. Person centered thinking gives people the skills needed to learn the answers. Person centered planning provides powerful formats to communicate what was learned. The routine use of the skills and planning process creates a culture where acting on the learning is more likely. In this session Michael Smull gives a brief overview of the skills and planning and how they can work for everyone.

Michael Smull has been working with people with disabilities for the past 40 years. He has had extensive experience in nearly all aspects of developing community services and in changing current practice.

Michael Smull is the Chair of The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices (TLC-PCP), and a partner in Support Development Associates (SDA). He is the co-developer of essential lifestyle planning and has worked in 47 states, and 6 countries outside the US. He has helped found 3 community agencies, assisted existing agencies to convert from programs to supports, and states, regions, and counties to change their structures to support selfdetermination. He has helped people leave institutions in the US and the UK.

Mr. Smull has written extensively on issues relating to supporting people with challenging behaviors, person centered planning, and the challenge of changing our system to one that will support self-determination. From 1982 through 1997 he was at the University of Maryland. When he left he was a Research Assistant Professor with the Department of Counseling and Personnel Services at the College Park Campus and a Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Pediatrics, at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine.

Mr. Smull works with agencies, regions and states on learning the skills that underlie good person centered practices and making the changes needed within organizations and systems to implement to support people in have self directed lives. He is the recipient of the 2006 AAIDD service award. Michael Smull and Mary Lou Bourne are the co-designers of efforts to develop person centered systems. This work is taking place in over 40 agencies and 10 states.

He lives in Annapolis, MD with his wife and 4 dogs.


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