Supported Decision-Making (SDM)
What is it?
Supported decision-making (SDM) applies to all types of decision-making. SDM supports people to understand and make decisions about their lives. A person using SDM selects trusted advisors such as family members, friends, or professionals to support them as they make decisions.
These supporters provide the person with a disability the tools to make their own informed decisions by agreeing to help the person with a disability understand and consider their options, and if necessary, communicate the decisions to a third party.
SDM can look different for everyone. It means finding tools and supports to help a person with a disability understand, make, and communicate their own choices.
SDM is a lot like providing reasonable accommodations: it is about making sure a person can understand decisions that affect their life. Examples of using SDM include helping a person make a decision by:
- Explaining information in visual or audio form instead of written
- Giving extra time to discuss choices or try options before making decision
- Creating lists of likes and dislikes about options to help think through the end result of a decision
- Role-playing activities to increase understanding of choices
- Bringing a supporter to help take notes during important appointments
- Working with a team to make important decisions like a Circle of Support or an Individual Education Program team.
How do I learn more?
- You do not need a lawyer to use supported decision-making
- If you want to talk to a member of the Center for Decision-Making team, who are experienced disability advocates with The Arc Tennessee, go to the contact us page
- ASAN Easy Read Edition, “Supported Decision-Making”
- National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making at http://www.supporteddecisionmaking.org