Empower Person Centered Planning/Independent Facilitator

Self Determination will be available to all Regional Center Clients by June 2021.

If you have been accepted into the Self Determination Program and are in need a Person Centered Plan please email [email protected] with your name, your child/adult’s age and the city you live in, your phone number and the best time to contact you.                                  I provide a one hour free consultation with no obligation.

Click Here to Read Testimonials from Empower’s Clients



YOUR hopes and dreams for the future

Where YOU want to live

Who YOU Want to spend time with

How you want to spend your time each

Included in Empower’s Services


The purpose of pre-planning is to allow Empower’s Facilitator to get to know YOU and YOUR circle of support in order to plan and facilitate a meaningful, efficient, and person-centered plan gathering. Empower’s Facilitator supports YOU to decide what topics are important to discuss at YOUR meeting and who YOU would like to invite. Pre-planning activities are based on Person Centered Thinking, and may include meetings at the home, observations of places or activities important to YOU, conversations with family and other important people in YOUR life, and document review.

Pre-planning should reveal

  • Who is in YOUR life
  • What is important To and For YOU
  • What YOU like (preferences) and dislike
  • YOUR strengths and talents
  • What YOUR life is like today
  • YOUR  hopes, dreams, and goals
  • How YOU communicate
  • YOUR history
  • What’s working/what’s not working
  •  Barriers or things that could prevent YOU from achieving YOUR hopes, dreams, goals
  • Support needs
  • A meeting to prep YOU about what the Person-Centered-Gathering will look like

Estimated Time: 6-10 hours

Person-Centered Planning Gathering

Who should be involved: It’s up to you to select the people YOU trust to invite to your gathering. Suggestions Include: Family members, friends, representatives from the community, agencies, schools, or service providers, coaches, co-workers, anybody who cares about YOU.

At the meeting, the team listens to YOUR hopes and dreams for the future and agrees to help and support YOU along the way. YOUR team is invited to share their input and ideas, and Empower’s facilitator helps the group develop an action plan for how they can help make YOUR vision a reality. The outcome of the a set of ideas and commitments Empower’s Facilitator will then translate into a written action plan.

Time: 4-6 hours (can be broken into multiple sessions)

Plan Creation (Report)

The facilitator from Empower will take all of the information shared during the Person-Centered Planning process and create an action plan so everybody knows what to do and when to do it. Empower’s facilitator will deliver a first draft of the written Person-Centered Plan within two weeks of the Gathering.

Time: 4 hours

Revision and Review

Empower’s Facilitator collaborates with YOU (and your circle of support) to review and revise the Report document to YOUR satisfaction.

Time: 2-4 hours

Support at YOUR Individual Program Plan (IPP) Meeting

Empower’s Facilitator will be available to attend the IPP meeting and assist the Client in presenting their goals.

Time: 2-4 Hours

Assistance with Your Spending Plan

Once the budget is certified Empower’s Facilitator will assist the Client in developing the Spending Plan with the services and supports necessary to achieve the goals in the Person-Centered Plan. The Spending Plan will then be provided to the FMS for any final edits required.

About Sandra McElwee:

Sandra McElwee has spent the last 26 years raising her son, Sean, who has Down syndrome, to live a Self-Determined Life.Her Mission is to Empower YOU to live boldly, and to be confident in controlling YOUR life; to decide where YOU want to live, work and play. Her job is to help you to discover your dreams and aspirations to create a Person-Centered Plan to help YOU achieve those dreams, and along with your team, discover the supports needed to help you live your best life. She has received above and beyond the required training to perform your Person-Centered Plan. She has been an advocate in education and employment for people with disabilities. She supports Sean’s T-Shirt business; seanese.com, with the title “Chief Dream Facilitator.”   She is a keynote speaker speaking on Inclusive Education, Self-Determination and Supported Decision-Making. Authoring three books about Sean, she has also contributed to the books, “Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Our Lives,” and “You Will Dream New Dreams, Inspiring Personal Stories by Parents of Children with Disabilities.” One of Sean’s dreams was realized when he was cast on the Emmy Award Winning TV show, “Born this Way,” on A&E. Sandra and Sean’s father Rick were also featured on the show.  Married over twenty-eight years to Rick, they enjoy traveling and participating in Sean’s many activities.


Person Centered Planning and Independent Facilitator Training; Trainer: Sonni Charness of Guidelight Group

Liberty Plan/Person Centered Culture; Trainer: Beth Gallagher & Kirk Hinkleman of Life-Works.

Person-Centered Thinking; Trainers from Regional Center of Orange County

Independent Facilitator Training; Trainers from Regional Center of Orange County

HCBS/Person Centered Thinking Workshop: CHOICE; Trainers from Regional Center of East Los Angeles

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