Supported Decision Making

Supported Decision-Making (SDM) is when a support person or team enables and assists a person with a disability to take command and communicate decisions with respect to personal and/or legal matters. The person with a disability chooses his/her own support person and/or team. Supported Decision-Making is an alternative to traditional guardianship for people with disabilities and is now codified in Indiana law as an option for emancipation. With SDM, the presumption is always in favor of the person with a disability who will be affected by the decision. The individual is the decision-maker; the support person or support team explains the issues when necessary, and interprets the preferences of the individual. Even when an individual with a disability requires total support, the support person or support team should enable that person to exercise his/her legal capacity to the greatest extent possible, according to the individual’s interests, preferences, and wishes. SDM allows people with disabilities to have the greatest possible autonomy and independence possible.