Substitute Decision Making to Supported Decision Making was the topic of discussion with Family Network on Disabilities: Ally Walford and the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. students! The discussion began about the difference between Substitute Decision-Making vs. Supported Decision Making. The conversation starter, ”Who makes the  decisions about health, living arrangements, and finances  for the students?” got the presentation underway with students sharing who made most of the decisions for them.

As Ally continued with the presentation, she began to discuss how important it is to transition from Substitute to Supported Decision Making which gives individuals with disabilities the independence to make decisions about their own lives.  Supported Decision Making puts the individual in the driver seat with support from a trusted person in their life.  This enables the individual to lead a better quality of life by being the person that leads the decision making process whether it is about finances, medical, employment, school or personal care.

To begin this process, students were encouraged to attend Individual Education Planning (IEP) meetings as well as participate in discussions at their doctor’s visits. These examples were some ways to learn to begin to take the driver seat while making individual decisions.

We are very thankful to Ally Walford, for taking the time to spend with our B.R.I.D.G.E.S. students and discuss very important life skills. These skills of Supported Decision Making will continue to help the students work on Resources, Independence, Development, Growth and Empowerment.