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“Disability is not a 'brave struggle' or 'courage in the face of adversity'... disability is an art. It's an ingenious way to live.”     

- Neil Marcus


Institute on Disability Launches New Online Person-Centered Planning Tool

November 10, 2011

Look Back, Plan Forward website screenshotDURHAM, N.H. – Look Back, Plan Forward, a new website launched by the UNH Institute on Disability, will help individuals with disabilities and people who are aging to capture their life stories in ways that can inform caregivers and service providers about the individual’s history, values, preferences, and support needs during the person-centered planning process.

Planning for and providing support to a loved one who is aging or living with a chronic illness or disability is a common experience for almost everyone at some point in life. The process, however, can be arduous and presents a number of challenges that prevent individuals from living as they choose. The path to navigate the maze of medical and community supports can be complex and time consuming. Individuals and families often struggle to define and create a network of supports and service providers frequently experience significant time and funding constraints.

With the help of Look Back, Plan Forward, individuals with disabilities and people who are aging have a place to record and reflect on important life events in a web-based timeline. This online record can prove invaluable for understanding and focusing on the individual’s desires and preferences when it is used by family caregivers and services providers as a framework for planning tailored services and supports.

"We are very excited about the launch of this online tool for person-centered planning," said Susan Fox, Institute on Disability project director. "We hope that individuals with disabilities and people who are aging will find it to be a useful resource in capturing their life history in a way that is simple to use and can be shared with others."

After creating a profile, site visitors can enter their personal history into a timeline format; print and share their history with family, friends, health care or home care providers, and others who can support them in the way they prefer; and save their history so they can update it over time. All personal information is password-protected, and sharing of personal information is at the sole discretion of the site user.

For more information about person-centered planning and how to create an online timeline, visit

Look Back, Plan Forward was developed under grant CFDA 93.779 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government.

The Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire was established in 1987 to provide a university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to promote full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons by strengthening communities and advancing policy and systems change, promising practices, education, and research.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.

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