Core Beliefs

Everyone has the right to make decisions. We believe that every person has the right to make their own decisions and to have those decisions legally recognized, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which posits legal capacity as a “human right.”

Everyone receives support when making decisions. We understand that everyone makes decisions with various kinds of support and that people with developmental disabilities (DD) may simply need more or different kinds of supports. Our facilitation process has been developed to identify those supports and provide a structure through which Decision-Makers can use trusted persons in their lives, their “Supporters,” to provide them. For examples of our success in reaching diverse populations, watch Supported Decision-Making Is For Everyone.

Everyone is entitled to learn from their decisions. We have seen that the SDM facilitation process is transformative for all involved: empowering the Decision-Maker to see him or herself as such and learn from both their successful choices and their mistakes, and enabling parents and other chosen Supporters to shift from roles they played in their prior relationship with the Decision-Maker as persons who knew and decided for them, to seeing the Decision-Maker as a more capable adult.

A Supported Decision-Making Agreement (SDMA) is much more than a piece of paper. Rather, it represents a learned process and set of tools by which Decision-Makers gain skills enabling them to make their own decisions more effectively, with support, throughout their lives. SDM is an effective, practical, and viable “less-restrictive alternative” to guardianship that allows people with DD to retain and enjoy their civil and legal rights, and to live lives of self-determination, inclusion, and dignity.