Person-Centered Approaches to Supporting Dignity of Risk for People with Disabilities

Thursday, March 23, 2023
3:00-4:30 PM, Eastern time

Register for the webinar

Host: National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS)

Dignity of risk is the idea that taking reasonable risks is essential to learning new things and supporting autonomy for people with disabilities. Risk should be balanced with ensuring the person’s health and welfare. People with disabilities often have less personal control over risk-taking as a result of other people making decisions about risks that should or shouldn’t be taken for them. When people with disabilities are supported to make their own choices and accept the reasonable risk involved, it can lead to personal learning, growth, and feelings of self-worth, autonomy, and independence. In this webinar, national experts, providers, people with lived experience, and state representatives will examine best practices for assessing and addressing risk through person centered practices while balancing choice, decision-making, and satisfaction. Critical to the success of these concepts is the role of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), and how they are supported to not intervene when someone makes a mistake, how their response can spur learning, and how to recognize when risk is too great, and the person’s informed decision may lead to significant consequences. Webinar participants will hear stories from several agencies demonstrating real person-centered practice of dignity of risk.

National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS) webinars include ASL interpretation, live English captions, and live Spanish interpretation. Please contact Saska Rajcevic at if you require additional accommodations. All NCAPPS webinars are recorded and archived and can be viewed on the NCAPPS Webinars page.

NCAPPS is an initiative from the Administration for Community Living and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that helps states, tribes, and territories implement person-centered thinking, planning, and practice.


  • Mary Lou Bourne is a long-term service and supports system consultant and has dedicated her career to transforming service systems by designing and implementing high-quality, person-centered services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
  • Elise Messner has worked in the field for the past 30 years as a Direct Support Professional, manager, and for the last 12 years, the Executive Director of the Learning Community of PA.
  • Susan Arwood is the Executive Director of Core Services of Northeast Tennessee, a provider agency that provides residential and community supports for adults with I/DD.
  • Carl Lipford is an advocate at Core Services and was living in a home with 24/7 supports and housemates when TNDIDD introduced an enabling technology project in 2018.
  • Shannon Nehus has over 30 years of experience working with people with I/DD.