Supported Decision Making

The Arc of Indiana, through a grant from the National Resource Center for Supported Decision Making and the Administration for Community Living, developed the report, Supported Decision Making in Indiana. Guardianship, Civil Rights and the Case for a Less Restrictive Environment.   

During the 2017 session of the Indiana General Assembly, The Arc worked with State Senator Eric Koch to pass a resolution urging the Legislative Council to assign the topic of Supported Decision Making to a summer study committee. The resolution was adopted, approved by Legislative Council, and assigned to the Interim Study Committee on Courts and Judiciary. The study will allow The Arc to share key information about Supported Decision Making with policy makers, including how it can be a useful tool for individuals with disabilities.

In addition, The Arc of Indiana successfully supported the Indiana Supreme Court grant request from the American Bar Association to begin a Supported Decision Making model project with Achieva Resources, The Arc in Wayne County.

National Resource Center for Supported Decision Making

Supported Decision Making Facts

  • All people use Supported Decision Making (SDM) to make important life decisions for such things as financial decisions, buying a house or car, car repairs, education or choices in medical treatments.
  • Supported Decision Making empowers individuals with disabilities who are capable of making decisions to use available supports to make their own choices and live a self-directed, independent life.
  • Even if a person with a disability needs extra help to make significant life decisions, their right to make their own choices should not be taken away (such as guardianship) without exploring all options and less-restrictive alternatives.
  • Supported Decision Making does not replace more formal substitute decision making legal structures, such as Advanced Health Care Directives, Powers of Attorney, or guardianships.
  • Supported Decision Making is one more alternative, another tool in the toolbox, and would be the least restrictive option, enabling people to use their own support systems and family to obtain information and make decisions instead of having someone else make decision for them.
  • Supported Decision Making agreements formalize the use of these support structures to obtain and assess information to make decisions.
  • Supported Decision Making agreements would be less costly to both the State and the consumer by avoiding expensive court process and unnecessary legal fees.
  • Under a Supported Decision Making agreement the supporter can:
    • Obtain and understand information relevant to his or her decisions.
    • Help the individual understand the options, responsibilities, and consequences of his or her decisions.
    • Communicate decisions to the appropriate people.
    • Assist in, but not make decisions for, the individual that has chosen them for guidance.
  • Supported Decision Making legislation has been enacted in Texas and Canada, and is being considered worldwide.