About

Supported Decision-Making (“SDM”) is a method of developing decision-making skills by relying on a team of Supporters to assist the individual in collecting information, processing information, and coming to a reasoned decision. SDM is an alternative to guardianship in that it provides a trusted and formalized environment for individuals who are seeking assistance with decision-making while still promoting self-determination. In contrast to guardianship, SDM is flexible and can change with the needs of the individual to provide more opportunities for independence and autonomy.

Imagine for a moment that you are standing in front of a vending machine full of food. You're hungry and you know you have some change in your pocket, but you don't know how to count it. How do you decide what to do?

You could start putting money in the machine and pressing buttons until something falls out. You could also just give all your money to someone else and hope they buy you something. Neither option is likely to get you what you want.

Putting money in the machine and pressing buttons is what it's like to live without support when you need assistance in decision-making. It doesn't mean you don't know what you want or you can't make informed decision. It simply means you lack the support you need.

Giving your money and decision-making authority to someone else is guardianship. You lose any ability to participate in the decision-making process, including choosing what decisions need to be made.

If you can think of any alternative besides putting your money in the machine and giving your money to someone else, you've chosen Supported Decision-Making. You've kept yourself as a critical part of the decision-making process and you've asked for the support you need to make a decision. Support can come in all forms and can be tailored your needs and your specific circumstances.