On August 20, 2019, the SDMNY project’s first restoration signing and fifth supported decision-making agreement (SDMA) signing ceremony was held in Rochester, NY. Robert Terry, the decision-maker, executed an SDMA and celebrated with his supporters, who included family members and friends. Maureen Phillips, Director of Advocacy Supports and Community Resources at Heritage Christian Services and SDMNY’s Rochester site coordinator, had facilitated the Robert’s SDMA development process and guided him through the signing ceremony. SDMNY’s Project Director Kristin Booth Glen, NYC Site Coordinator Joan Cornachio, and Senior Project Coordinator Matthew Smith joined the ceremony remotely to witness the signing and to congratulate Robert and his supporters on their signing.
“I like that my family and friends now know how independent I am and exactly what I want”
Following the ceremony, Robert reflected on the decision-making process during the following Q&A:
Q: What was the best part of the process of developing an SDMA?
A: The best part is having the agreement at the end of the process. I liked working with my facilitator to come up with the right words to let everyone know how I make decisions, figuring out that I already make decisions with my supporters in a way that works for me and everyone and seeing how my family has gained understanding about how my rights were so limited by a guardianship. Also, I like that my family and friends now know how independent I am and exactly what I want related to decision making.
Q: How do you think your SDMA will help you going forward?
A: I am going to use it when I need it. I am keeping it with me just in case I need it any time, like when I’m on appointments. I am going to share it with the lawyer [DRNY] as we work on my guardianship.
Q: Do you think that your SDMA will be a useful self‐advocacy tool, and if so, why?
A: Oh yeah, yes I do. It’s handy and easy to share and I explored and captured my decision-making process.
Q: Do you think that other self‐advocates should explore SDM, and if so, why?
A: Yes, but the decision would have to be up to them to do that. If you want more independence and you think you are ready for it, yes, but it’s totally up to the individual person. I would suggest finding out more about it to make a decision about it.
Robert also appeared in a video produced by SDMNY about the August 2019 SDMA signing ceremony, which you can view here: https://sdmny.org/videos-sdmny-stories/.