Discovery provides a substitute to comparison-based testing procedures in that already existing information is utilized rather than information developed through formal assessment methods for purposes of answering the question, “Who is this person?” The information identified during discovery can be captured in a narrative format often referred to as a profile. Discovery and the resulting profile are used to guide individuals with meaningful life outcomes such as jobs, community activities, residences, and relationships. The process is especially suited for matching an applicant to job possibilities that make sense. The person’s entire life experiences are taken into account, rather than single instances of performance. Discovery begins with a provider representative meeting with the applicant and family at the home of the applicant. These visits, along with other discovery activities, give the individual and family information about their powerful roles in the process and allow the provider to compile basic information that is necessary to begin person-centered planning.
Families and friends, along with staff and advocates, play a critical role in discovery. With permission from the individual, the provider talks with all the people who are important in that person’s life. Providers seek to uncover descriptive rather than evaluative perspectives. Descriptiveness is also a characteristic of the written profile document. By embracing descriptiveness, providers allow the attributes of each person served to be recognized and appreciated without comparing them to others or to arbitrary standards of performance and behavior. The entire discovery process, including writing the narrative form, takes approximately 16-24 hours to complete.