We believe that every person has the right to make his or her own decisions, regardless of disability, and to have those decisions legally recognized. This belief is reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that posits legal capacity as a “human right.”
We understand that no one makes decisions entirely in a vacuum, that we all engage in some kind of supported decision-making, and that people with intellectual disabilities may simply need more, or different kinds of supports in order to make their decisions.
We have observed the work of pilot programs around the world that demonstrate how supported decision-making can advance legal capacity even for persons with severe intellectual impairments. We are inspired by their successes, and seek to make supported decision-making a viable alternative to guardianship, which removes legal capacity, and denies those who are subject to it, their legal and civil rights.
In almost four years of operation, we have seen how our facilitation process works to give people with I/DD the tools necessary to make their own decisions, and we have seen the dignity, self-determination and autonomy that flows from that ability. Participants have almost universally described the process as “transformational”; that has been our hope and our goal from the beginning.