What are the benefits of Supported Decision-Making?
Teaches Decision Making Skills – Supported Decision-Making (SDM) is a great way to learn and practice how to make decisions.
Person-Centered – SDM puts the adult with developmental disabilities in the driver’s seat and allows them to say what they do and do not want.
Protects Civil Rights – The two options most commonly suggested to parents of adults with developmental disabilities, guardianship and guardian advocacy, require the adult’s rights to be removed. With SDM the adult can keep their rights, and therefore, maintain their dignity and freedom of choice.
Improves Quality of Life - SDM provides adults with developmental disabilities with a better quality of life. Research shows that increased self-determination leads to better outcomes in employment and community integration, increases independence, and makes people with disabilities better able to identify situations that could lead to abuse.
Protect from Abuse and Neglect - SDM better enables people with disabilities to protect themselves from abuse and neglect. Guardians and guardian advocates have sole control over the person in their care's life, with some court oversight. SDM allows people with disabilities to diversify their support system and oversee actions taken on their behalf.
The Court is Not Involved – Though court oversight is essential to protect people under guardianship and guardian advocacy from being mistreated, guardianships and guardian advocacy can feel intrusive. For example, a Miami mother who is her son’s guardian would need to ask the court for permission to take him to Disney World if his right to travel has been removed. SDM gives privacy to families where the person with a disability is able to make decisions—alone or with support.
It is affordable - SDM lets all families support their loved ones regardless of income. Setting up a guardianship can be expensive, and fees continue each year for annual reports. Cases to restore the person under guardianship or guardian advocacy’s rights can be even more expensive. SDM is an affordable option for adults with developmental disabilities who can make decisions—alone or with support—as it does not involve the costs associated with going to court.