My Plan To Flourish
My Plan To Flourish

How Do We Renew the Promise
of Person-Centered Planning?

There’s an App for That!

On a sunny Friday in March of 2020, we had a quiet but exciting meeting at our High Tide Press offices. It was one of those meetings where the collaboration was easy and the ideas flowing. We left for the weekend inspired by the possibility of a new way to infuse person-centered planning with the science of positive psychology—the well-researched elements of well-being.

On Sunday, our governor announced that our state was, essentially, closing down.

Just as for so many, shocked disappointment marked the beginning of the Covid-19 shutdown for us. We had just published the book that was to launch our campaign to revolutionize person-centered planning: A New Plan: Using Positive Psychology to Renew the Promise of Person-Centered Planning by Art Dykstra and Thane Dykstra, Ph. D. Unfortunately, we quickly realized that our marketing messages would fall on deaf ears. While we heard of people stranded at home watching endless Netflix series, DD Providers had their hands way more than full.

Back to that Friday meeting in March…

Shortly after the release of A New Plan, Thane Dykstra gave a copy to Steve Sutter, president of CreateAbility Inc. Steve’s company develops technology solutions specifically for people who have disabilities. We met with Steve that fateful Friday. CreateAbility has a unique view into the ways people with disabilities interact with technologies. He saw a way to bring the philosophy and the methods of A New Plan directly to the person to whom it matters most: the person at the center of the person-centered plan, the person whose life will flourish or flounder…based on the quality and the implementation of that plan.  Read More>


WORDS That Lift Us UP!:
Appreciating and Teaching
Person-Centered Language

It’s a fact that the words we speak make a difference, not only to ourselves but also to others. Words influence our emotions, but also our interactions with those around us. It’s also a fact that we can improve our communication practices and be more effective, empathetic, and skillful in our verbal interactions with others.

WORDS That Lift Us UP! was designed and constructed in response to the many requests for training and educational materials that could be used in teaching person-centered language, especially to direct support staff.

WORDS That Lift Us UP! has four bottom-line expectations for language improvement:

1. That we accept personal responsibility for
our language behavior.
2. That we reflect on our interpersonal actions,
including the words we use.
3. That we realize we will make mistakes.
4. That we apologize when we need to.

Words That Lift Us Up is an educational training package that utilizes four separate video modules that can be targeted to specific audiences.

The primary intent is to strengthen the language behavior of direct support staff who have the most frequent contact and impact with the people served and supported in the day and residential programs.

The four primary modules are:

1. The Essentials of Person-Centered Language
2. Empathy and Person-Centered Language
3. Speaking Respectfully
4. Sustaining the Effort

The educational experience unfolds through viewing the modules, followed by a guided discussion about the content and the viewers’ response. WORDS That Lift Us UP! can be easily incorporated into a preservice or in-service learning curriculum.

Purchase WORDS That Lift Us UP!
October 1st at 

My Plan To Flourish

A New Plan! A Must-Read for Parents
of Children with Disabilities

A New Plan: Using Positive Psychology to Renew the Promise of Person-Centered Planning for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Parents of children with intellectual disabilities quickly learn the importance of an IEP (Individualized Education Program), the intent of which is to strengthen and manage the educational experience for a child with disabilities. It is indeed a plan for the future, and its worth is in its implementation. The required elements of the document are specified in Special Education law. Vital aspects of an IEP are the setting of annual goals and the input of parents in the process. As parents know, the more complex the needs of a child, the greater the challenge in putting together a meaningful plan and carrying it out successfully.

In many ways, the IEP serves as the precursor or forerunner for the crafting of a Personal Support Plan for the children, who leave or graduate from the formal education system and require future adult supports. Many of the planning elements, as well as the process and dynamics, are similar. What is not similar is the availability of resources to serve the adult population consistent with previously school-funded expectations. That may, in fact, be the first reason parents should read A New Plan–to learn about the reality of underfunding and resource shortages.

Throughout the book, authors Thane Dykstra, Ph.D. and Art Dykstra do an excellent job of describing the importance of the planning process, including laying out The Principles of Person-Centered Planning. Parents will also become familiar with the significance of positive psychology and its role in helping people with disabilities flourish and live their best possible life, in other words, enjoying today, looking forward to tomorrow, seeing and acting on possibilities and opportunities while living positively. Sad to say, the significance of positive psychology is being overlooked in many schools across the United States. Reading A New Plan will also introduce parents to “My Plan to Flourish,” a contemporary model of person-centered planning that will be helpful to them as they work with providers in support of their child’s future.

Still another reason to read the book is to note the critical role that a plan facilitator or champion has in helping a person realize their goals. Champions need to be “optimistic, inspired advocates, promoters, defenders and battlers.” Finally, the book includes The Organizational Inventory of Person-Centeredness, a helpful tool for parents seeking a support organization that is value-based and where employees work in a positive and collaborative culture.

The Dykstras predict that models, such as “My Plan to Flourish” with the accompanying software application Flourish, will reveal the obsolete nature of the current approach, namely the reliance on computer-generated forms that are more regulatory than personal.

The “My Plan to Flourish,” as outlined in A New Plan, will result in more genuine engagement, greater provider accountability and easy tracking of progress over time. In addition to all of this, it offers the scientific underpinnings of well-being.

Visit to learn more and scroll to the bottom for a free download of The 10 Principles of Person-Centered Planning.

Scavenger Hunt Cover

How Do We Want to Be Together?
Using An Employee Scavenger Hunt In
Your Onboarding Program

Getting back to business doesn’t have to be boring or scary! As organizations and workspaces begin to reflect the “pre-pandemic times,” you’ll be bringing new staff into your organization for the first time. An Employee Scavenger Hunt is a fun and creative addition to your onboarding activities. By using technology and varying the types of questions on your organizational Scavenger Hunt (taking a photo, scanning a QR code, filming a quick video, etc.), new employees will know that your organization has its act together, but also knows how to have some fun.

This is one of the HOW DO WE WANT TO BE TOGETHER Leadership Learning Series. Available here at where sales benefit people with DD.

Training Leaders:
The Leading Questions Dialogue Deck

Most organizations have made a genuine commitment to developing their leaders and are continuously looking for relevant articles to share, books to read, and ever-increasingly online classes to take. While the commitment is there, oftentimes what is lacking is a practical curriculum or the available time for young or newly appointed leaders to be away from their assignment in order to benefit from a leadership development experience, whether seminar, conference or Zoominar.

Consider using the Leading Questions Dialogue Deck as the DIY leadership educational initiative.

Time blocks as little as 15 or 20 minutes can be utilized to further knowledge and gain additional insights into the leadership dynamic. With this approach, a leadership observation card is drawn or selected from a choice of 52 such cards and the meeting facilitator or designated staff member reads the statement and guides the group participants through the subsequent dialogue with respect to meaning and application.

Handy reference cards are available that present the statement and concise meaning. These cards are all included in a Facilitator’s Guide that outlines the question, quote, or observation and includes a frame of reference for subsequent dialogue.

The primary design intent was to gather together a small group of participants and, over the course of 60-90 minutes, have them engage in dialogue with one another while completing an appropriate number of cards.

The Facilitator’s Guide serves as a valuable, easy-to-read instruction manual and includes introductory comments regarding exceptional leaders, the importance of dialogue, and the importance of team learning. The handbook describes the Leading Questions learning options and uses, specific instructions for using the Deck in a group format, as well as “Ten Tips for Effective Facilitators.”

Each of the 52 Leading Questions statements is included in the book with discussion suggestions and intended follow-up.

The Leading Questions Dialogue Deck:

  • Strengthens leadership skills
  • Builds a repertoire of problem-solving skills
  • Prepares new leaders for challenging situations
  • Deepens seasoned leaders’ values, perspectives, and foresight
  • Sharpens leadership thinking and decision-making
  • Helps spotlight promising leaders through group interaction

Peter Senge says in his book The Fifth Discipline-The Art and Practice of The Learning Organization, “In dialogue, a group explores the complex, difficult issues from many points of view. Individuals suspend their assumptions but they communicate their assumptions freely. The result is a free exploration that brings to the surface the full depth of people’s experience and thought, and yet can move beyond their individual views.”

The Leading Questions Dialogue Deck can be ordered at

The Other Side Of Pain
New Video from High Tide Press

Pain in life is inevitable. We all experience pain and grief at some time in our lives. Often at inconvenient and unexpected times. But, at other times, we can anticipate when a loved one is experiencing a fatal illness or a creeping mental illness. So what do we do to help?

Mike Mecozzi, the author of The Other Side of Pain, visited with us on the ROXY stage in March for our Authors Streaming series. We invite you to now watch and share the video of Mike’s interview to experience his calming, enlightened presence yourself.

In the video, Dr. Mike discusses his experiences of pain and grief with High Tide’s Director of Publications, Anne Ward. In this revealing conversation, Dr. Mecozzi draws on his experiences as a therapist and counselor to explore many practical ways of preparing for that inevitable pain and work with it when it is impacting your life. Mike delves into his book, The Other Side of Pain, for deep insights that include strategies and helpful ways of experiencing and recovering from painful life episodes. Enjoy this video HERE.

Different Seasons Dale Turner
Dr. Dale Turner


Thursday, July 29, 11 AM Central

Hosted by High Tide Author and Dale Turner Friend Tim Williams. Tim takes us behind the scenes of his working with Dale on the 5 books written with High Tide Press.

Different Seasons
July Streaming Authors Event
Dr. Dale Turner – Tim Williams

Our July Author Special Free Streaming Event features the late Dr. Dale Turner who authored five books published by High Tide Press. Dale, a prolific thinker and writer and Congregational Minister in Seattle for 24 years, wrote sermons, books, and a syndicated column for the Seattle Times through 2004.

His columns received national attention. One of them continues to be a most requested reprint from the successors of Ann Landers, a Chicago columnist who re-published it. We will share that column and other writings from Dale in the program. Fifteen years after his passing in 2006, interest in his timeless inspiration and philosophy continues. In this Special Event you’ll learn why so many still cherish his writing as it speaks to today’s personal and social issues. Dale was a simple and unpretentious man with a big heart and universal ideas that reflected his generous love and inclusiveness. Truly someone you will want to know more about.

This Author Special features High Tide author and a long time associate of High Tide Press, Tim Williams, a personal friend of Dale and his family who worked with Dale on all five of his High Tide books. Attendees will meet Dale in excerpts from an interview video taped in early 1986.

For the cover of Grateful Living, Dale’s second High Tide book, Bill Gates wrote, “Dale Turner mixes equal parts wisdom, learning, plain-speaking, and humor to get to the heart of important matters. I have learned a lot from him.” Former Governor of Washington, Dan Evans, said, “In Grateful Living you will find wit, wisdom and words that will lift your spirits from a remarkable spiritual and civic leader.”

Dale Turner titles are available at amazon and – Several of his titles are also available on Kindle.

September High Tide Press
Free Streaming Author Event

Join us for an engaging talk with Linda Van Dyke, author of Creating a Meaningful Day: An Innovative Curriculum for Adults with Significant Intellectual Disabilities

Thursday, September 16th, 11:00 AM Central Time

In this session, High Tide Author Linda Van Dyke will introduce us to her curriculum for adults who have substantial learning disabilities.

For years, Linda’s outstanding adult learning program has amazed those who have observed it. Sometimes, it seems like magic happening in the room. But, as Linda will tell you, it’s not magic (not totally) and in Creating a Meaningful Day, she puts her process into words for those who want to experience the magic for themselves.

Creating a Meaningful Day is one of High Tide’s early success stories. Our editor, Mary Rundell-Holmes spent months with Linda—visiting her program, encouraging Linda as she worked to put her process into words. Not only did she get down the words, but she detailed out every single lesson to make it easy for program directors to see the kinds of results Linda gets in her program.

The CMD curriculum has 96 unique lessons helping participants explore topics such as:

  • Socializing
  • Athletics
  • Nature
  • Community Service
  • Drama
  • Visual Arts
  • Creative Movement
  • Storytelling

Join us for a deep dive into Linda’s process, discovering the genius of her gentle ways and what she’s learned about working with people who have significant disabilities during her over-forty years of experience working with them.


September 12-18
Direct Support Professionals Week

If there was ever an important time to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to those staff members, who are the backbone of supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it is during this recognition week. The Covid-19 ordeal has been especially challenging and many times life-threatening to our essential frontline employees. We at High Tide Press salute you!

If your organization provides services or supports to people with IDD, take the time to host a meaningful celebration for your Direct Support Professionals. You, who are parents or family members of a person with a disability, be sure to say thank you to those supporting your loved one.

Remember to share the good news with your community as well. If you are looking for ideas to enrich your recognition efforts, check out the ANCOR website that published a helpful list of ideas in 2020.

Because you made it through this season’s packed full o’ newsletter you get a FREE GIFT. For you and your organization please download and give your operation – The 10 Principles of Person-Centered Thinking and Language Poster. 

The Poster is a reminder of the key principles of Person-Centered Planning from A New Plan.

Download PDF for printing – 8.5 x 11

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