Thursday, September 4, 2014

Substitute -- or supported -- decision making?

By: Marisa Geitner, president & C.E.O. of Heritage Christian Services

At Heritage Christian we’ve been talking a lot about the difference between substitute decision making and supported decision making – and how each one of us can continue to learn and support decision making differently.
This section, from a report by Inclusion International, explains it well:

People in the lives of individuals with intellectual disabilities – usually with the best of intentions – often try to eliminate all of life’s risks and prevent any opportunities for failure. What can result is a life where an individual has never had the opportunity to develop new skills and learning, and has never experienced the satisfaction of achieving something that was not certain to be achieved from the beginning. … by supporting each other in informed risk-taking, and utilizing the many teaching opportunities it reveals, we are provided with the opportunity to try new things, test our limits, and discover capabilities we never knew we had, helping us to achieve goals that further enrich our lives.

The people who choose to use our services and the Inclusion International report, “Independent But Not Alone: A Global Report on the Right to Decide,” make a compelling case for welcoming people with disabilities into the conversation and into the decision-making process in a very meaningful way.

How are we doing with our ability to support decision making? What limits us from supporting decision making differently? What strategies have you found helpful?