Supported decision making

published in the Republican December 2020

A man with autism had his rights stripped due to guardianship.  In November, a judge terminated guardianship in favor of using a less restrictive method called supported decision making.

Supported decision making allows people with disabilities to make choices about their own life with support from people they choose, such as family, friends or professionals whom they trust.  It is considered an alternative to guardianship.  The point is to allow the person with disabilities to have a say in their own life instead of having no say. 

Just because someone has a disability doesn’t mean they don’t have their own preferences and desires.  They have a right to be involved in deciding where they want to work and live.  The support system can help them educate, research and make reasonable decisions.  The goal is to make the individual feel valued and part of their own life.  Being independent means having control of one’s life.

This process can increase pride and self-confidence while increasing their own happiness.  This is also a way to gain new experiences while expanding their knowledge.  It can also teach an individual how to work with others while gaining communication skills.  More importantly, they can become their own advocates.

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