About Supported Decision Making
Almost everyone has relied on someone else to help them make a decision. For example, we may consult someone for a second opinion if we think our auto mechanic is overcharging us, we allow a real estate agent to help us navigate the home-buying process, or we reach out to friends for input on their experiences before contacting a plumber or electrician. People with and without disabilities occasionally need support in the decision making process. The difference is that when people with disabilities need assistance in making decisions, we are quick to jump to the conclusion that a guardianship is needed. Guardianship can strain family relationships; create financial hardship; interfere with postsecondary education and employment options; and potentially even increase susceptibility to abuse, neglect or exploitation. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities who do not have a guardian are more likely to: 
- Have a paid job
- Live independently
- Have friends other than staff or family
- Go on dates and socialize in the community
- Practice the Religion of their choice
- Individual is always at the center of decision-making.
- Individual decides who offers support.
- Individual retains legal rights.
- No expensive attorney fees or court fees.
- Teaches individual about decision making, self-determination, and details of his or her affairs.