The LifeCourse Framework
The LifeCourse framework was created to help individuals and families of all abilities, and at any age or stage of life develop a vision for a good life, think about what they need to know and do, identify how to find or develop supports, and discover what it takes to live the lives they want to live. Individuals and families may focus on their current situation and stage of life, but may also find it helpful to look ahead to think about life experiences now that will help move them toward an inclusive, productive life in the future. The framework is designed to help any citizen think about their life, not just individuals known by the system of services.
Even though the framework was originally developed for people with disabilities, it is designed to be used universally by any family making a life plan, whether they have a member with a disability or not.
Through the use of various LifeCourse Tools, the Individual with a disability or a special health care need will achieve self-determination, interdependence, productivity, integration, and inclusion in all facets of community life.
For the families of those with a person with a disability or special health care need, families will be supported in ways that maximize their capacity, strengths, and unique abilities to best nurture, love, and support the individual to achieve their goal(s).
For Charting the LIfeCourse to be successful, families and people with disabilities or special health care needs must consider the Life Domains of: daily life, employment, community living, safety and security, healthy living, social and spirituality, citizenship, and advocacy. Everyone (whether they have a disability or not) has to figure out: what they are going to do during the day…go to school, volunteer, get a job; where they are going to live, how they are going to stay healthy and safe, and so on.
In addition to taking Life Domains into consideration, families and people with disabilities or special health care needs must also plan according to the Life Stages of prenatal/infancy, early childhood, school age, transition, adulthood, or aging. Individuals and families can choose to look at just one Life Domain, one Life Stage, or look ahead to think about or have conversations about their future. In order to have a vision for the future, it is helpful to now what possibilities exist in each life domain, to know what’s coming, what to expect, and how to plan.