Supported Decision-Making (SDM) is an alternative to guardianship that lets adults with disabilities keep their rights and make their own decisions with the support of people they trust. We all use SDM every day to get advice from family and friends. We may ask for help deciding what laptop to buy or whether to repair our car.
We may need someone to explain choices we find complicated, like deciding whether the “OEM part” the car mechanic recommended is necessary or whether to get the “CAT Scan” the doctor recommended. Once we get the information about what complicated terms and procedures mean and understand the potential consequences of each choice, we can make a good decision. This is SDM in action.
Some people, including adults with developmental disabilities, can benefit from formalizing their use of SDM. They can plan what areas of their life they would like support with and how they want to be supported. In this way, SDM can serve as an alternative to guardianship and guardian advocacy. This video explains how SDM works and how it differs from guardianship.