Supported decision-making (SDM) is part of the human right of legal capacity—that everyone has the right to make his or her own decisions, regardless of disability.

In the past, parents and others have been concerned that their children with I/DD can’t make decisions, or can’t make good decisions. They have been told that getting guardianship is the best way to protect their children, even as those children become adults.

Looking at people with I/DD through a human rights lens, we are able to see that by giving them appropriate supports to make their own choices, they can become more self-determined, more integrated into the community, and so also safer and better able to protect themselves.

SDM has the potential to transform how we see, understand and treat people with I/DD, and so also how we educate them to lead inclusive and fulfilling lives.